Always Something New (from the “Bizzaro Ted Kooser” series)

They’ve been married nearly
50 years. They’ve had their
sorrow and their joys – which is
a way of saying that they’ve had
their sons and daughters. They
finally own the house outright – although
most of the new furniture is still on
the credit card whose balance never
seems to go down. But when he wakes up
each morning it’s like he’s always
looking at her for the first time. Even
after all these years, there’s always
something new. Looking down at her now,
as he brushes away the dark hair falling
across her forehead, he catches a
brief glimpse of something. He squints
at it then reaches back to the nightstand
for his spectacles. Once on, once he
can see clearly, there is clearly no doubt
that in the middle of her forehead,
is a tiny eye. Gently with his fingers,
he opens its lid to reveal an eye filled
with a thick, yellowish-brown pus. The
eye blinks at him. “It’s okay,” he says.
He walks to the bathroom, opens the medicine
cabinet and reaches for the eye drops
Doc Smith had given him a few years ago
when he was having eye problems due
the spell of that gypsy who was holed up
in Dick Porter’s hayloft. He’s sits back on the bed
and forces the eyelid open as puts some drops in.
“Now blink,” he says quietly, so as not to
wake up his wife. He continues to parcel out
the drops and wipe away the pus with a Kleenex
He continues until the small thing is clear and
as it clears he notices that it is a brown eye –
not the light blue of her light blue eyes.
“That’ll do for now, I guess,” he says.
The eye blinks twice as if to say “Thank
you.” He replaces locks of hair over the eye,
walks to the bathroom and puts the eye drops
back. He brushes his teeth and starts to
head out, but realizes there’s some
unfinished business to take care of.
He takes a tremendously large shit – one
for the ages – then goes out into the tool shed
to sharpen his cutting tools. Halfway there,
he thinks of something his father used to say,
“They’re not making the days any longer…”
and shakes his head, because he knows, deep
down, that it’s only a matter of time until they do.

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