THE FRONT DOOR swung open, battering against the outside wall in the fury of the maelstrom beyond. Standing there, caked in mud, he stood motionless, staring beyond me, a yellow handled axe an extension of his being, as if cut, dripping blood onto the linoleum. His eyes were dead, circled by dark patches and blood spatter, yet a strange glint of happiness could be detected and I knew all he wanted was acknowledgement of his achievements.
“Well done.” I sounded shrill. Vacuous. Competing with the TV I was watching for sound, and the damned door that continued to thrash wildly.
He grunted, smiling, the previous physical exertion making it an effort. His axe made a thud as it hit the floor, the handle then swinging over, slapping downwards to join the bloodied mud. Slowly he escaped the wet waterproof clothing as if in a straight jacket, twisting and contorting, freeing his arms and legs, making a mess as usual.
“Will you close the fricking door!” I yelled, eyes still enraptured by the morning news.
Finally he spoke, freeing himself of the outer skin, dumping it on top of the axe. “I thought you were going out?” His voice was tired, laboured in its delivery.
“No!” I snorted, after a delay, rudely immersed in the plasma screen. “And take your boots off!”
“I always do!” he shot back, inaccurately, stomping over to the door and closing it with a bang. In the process of taking his boots off he asked: “Seriously, why aren’t you going out?”
He looked over amid boot extraction. When I failed to answer he continued: “Do you want me to go out for you?”
I looked at him smugly as he sat on the bottom of the stairs. “No thanks honey, I don’t have any demons to kill!”
Hmmmfff. “We all have some!” he replied grabbing his clothing destined for the washing machine, leaving the axe congealing into the lino, knowing I’d need it sooner than later. Maybe before the kids got back from school..