Man Around the House


Marvin’s a man who never
does anything he doesn’t have to.
One day, however, to the delight
of Miriam, his wife, he became
useful around the house.

Marvin was a whirlwind,
making wonderful meals,
doing the dishes and laundry,
vacuuming carpets, performing
without complaint all the tasks
Miriam had done without help
for more than 40 years.

One evening, after a sumptuous dinner
and elegant dessert, Miriam decided
to compliment Marvin as he
stacked the dishwasher carefully
so as not to break her china.

“Marvin, I’m astounded at all
you are doing. I’m appreciative.
I thank you from deep in my heart.”

Marvin scratched his head
and kept loading the dishwasher.
Finally he cleared his throat and said,

“Miriam, my energy is temporary.
If you hadn’t lost your legs
in that car accident,
I wouldn’t be doing any of this.
Once you’re back on your feet,
I’m going back to my recliner forever.
And I don’t want to be disturbed.”

Miriam smiled. She was pleased
she would get her old Marvin back,
the churl she loved beyond belief,
once her prosthetics arrived.
She wanted to please him again.

“Your legs should be here
in time for Christmas.
Maybe we can go to church.
You can roast the turkey.
Wake me when it’s ready.
I want everything back to normal.”

Now Miriam knew for certain
her Marvin had not disappeared.
He was just doing his best to be nice,
something he hadn’t done
Since their courtship after World War II.
He had knelt in the snow
to propose, her ring in hand,
a day Miriam will never forget
and Marvin will never remember.


© Donal Mahoney