Crumbs From the Corner: Adventures in Woolgathering

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Guest



“Mystery is a resource, like coal or gold, and its preservation is a fine thing”
-Tim Cahill

I first met Spouse when he came to visit my family one Christmas. We soon found out that he was a voracious water-drinker. He sometimes consumed a gallon a day and we all made sure that our guest constantly had some to hand. The jug was always filled, glasses were set aside for him and if he wanted bottled water we had some put by as well.
He slept in my old attic bedroom- he had been cheerful about climbing a ladder to bed each night. I stayed with Mater in the downstairs bedroom.
Weeks later, after he was gone again, the house was sadly silent, especially that first evening.
In the morning I went with a forlorn sigh to the attic to see if he had unwittingly left anything behind. A guest's recently vacated room is one of the saddest things in the world.
I found a single glass of water, filled to the very brim, on the bedside table. Suddenly I was dumbfounded into recollection.
A memory slapped at me: I had partially woken up during that night, filled a glass of water for Spouse, climbed the ladder with one hand on the rungs and brought to Spouse the gift of a drink without spilling one drop.
That would have all been perfectly acceptable, except that by the time I was precariously ascending the ladder, Spouse was quite likely unpacking his bags in California and missing Ireland.
I risked all to bring, in my half-sleep, a glass of water to somebody who was no longer there. One should do no less for one's house guest and future Spouse.

13 comments:

mermaid said...

In India, they say guests are like gods, greeted with the formal 'Namaste'. Growing up in the US, I sometimes forget the divinities in my own house at any point in time.

Thanks for the reminder.

tangobaby said...

Oh! So sweet!

That's so romantic and loving. See, you took care of him even before you knew who he would be.

tangobaby said...

I forgot to mention that I love Tim Cahill. Great quote.

julochka said...

oh, do tell more about meeting Spouse! ;-)

Beth said...

oh yes, I agree julochka, the whole story needs to be told....inquiring minds want to know!

Barb said...

Obviously you and spouse were "meant to be".

TheElementary said...

Mermaid, I've always gone out of my way to make sure guests are looked after. I'm quite shy and feel uncomfortable in other people's homes so I know how it feels.

Tangobaby- "before you knew who he would be." I like that. The way you phrased it is quite lovely and, yes, romantic :)
At times I really like to put in quotes that I've known and enjoyed for a while, and if find a right opportunity I add them. This was one. Glad you caught that.

Barb, ah, I think so too. Something told me I had to look after him ;)

Julie, do you see what you started now? :) Beth's inquiring mind is calling out for information too. Wait- do I hear Mr. Toaster calling me again...? I've got to attend to him.

The Texican said...

Quite romantic. I agree with some of the others, the story needs to be fleshed out a little. No need trying that "hide behind the toaster trick" with us. In for a dime, in for a dollar.

TheElementary said...

Why, I do believe I'm surrounded and outnumbered!
Texican, I'll ponder it for a while and see what happens. That toaster is very time consuming though. It never gives me a moment.

hele said...

I'd also like to know the rest of the story. When did you present him with his next glass of water?

Put the toaster in a dark corner for a while - somewhere where no one will hear its mumblings.

Jaime said...

Yes, more inquiring minds want to know! (Now, you are really outnumbered.)
Not only am I curious as to what happened next, but before as well! What brought him to your home in the first place?

tangobaby said...

Am I the only one here who doesn't want to hear the whole story?

I think some stories are more romantic when they are kept as cherished secrets. Otherwise, they may lose some of their magic.

I think this story is beautiful just the way it is. The water glass in the empty room tells us much.

TheElementary said...

Hele, the answer to that is, 'the next time I saw that he was thirsty.' ;)

Jaime, "as to what happened next, but before as well" -
the here and now is all that matters. Past and future are purely thin clouds of distraction ;)

Tangobaby, I think like the quote said, mystery preserved is a good thing. Of course I should and will share some more at different times ;)

This has been so much fun, putting everybody off my trail. Thanks for all the comments, questions, queries. It's more appreciated than any of you know.

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