"Okay," I call to Craig. "I'll plan on showering right now."
Eighty degree heat, perched atop the new arbor, Craig revs the electric drill. He almost nods, but crossbar in place, he anchors it with undivided focus. Extra screws between his lips, he lines up another crossbar and then anchors it too.
"I'll pop the pizza in the oven after that," I say.
He nods. Jane, at the other end of the yard, looks up, her chin and eyebrows raised in tandem.
"Couldn't you just put it in the oven and then shower?" she says. She glides across the grass on tip-toe.
"Yeah," I say, "but I'm afraid I'll burn it, 'cause they don't cook very long."
"I could do it," she says.
"You mean put it in the oven and everything? You have to be able to get them in and out yourself."
"I will," she says. She tilts her head, her smile slightly more pronounced on one side.
"Oh, and make a salad too," I say.
"Okay," she nods staccato.
"Are you sure you don't mind?"
"Oh, no," she says.
"Oo-kay," I say. We smile to each other, something gentle and happy, like the rocking of a boat, between us. "Okay," I say.
We head inside, but I feel it again, that gentle pulse of love, a thrum-drum of rightness. I watch her learn to lay down her life and rise up in strength.
Each day we loosen the reigns a little more.
5924. Black licorice from Lynn and a fun time for Jack bringing back treats with her.
5925. Chips, salad, and burgers. Barbecue is a highlight of the week.
5926. Lucy gets a watch.
5927. Her glasses come in.
5928. And then she pulls 2000 weeks to win a contest with Aunt Libby.
5929. Craig finishes the arbor.
5930. We plant vegetables in the garden.
5931. Betsy has her four month appointment and is doing well.
5932. I score my first ever win against Craig in chess.
5933. Jack discovers the Hardy Boys books from his cousin.
5934. We continue to live in joy.