My husband clomps in from the afternoon, boots loud, his face morose, "I've forgotten how to whistle," he announces to the one room cabin that holds only me, dozing dreamily with a cup of tea at my side, books and eyeglasses balanced precariously or perfectly on a pile of shirts, an old red down vest, a jacket, papers, and pencils that need to be sharpened. All morning I had heard fragments of "Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound..." being whistled with hesitation as he fussed and puttered about, then the whistling would stop.
He would sigh deeply, as if thinking of some great and sad tragedy-- an unfinished model railroad layout he promised to build for my father as he died, or his own father's early and lonely, sudden death at the side of the road trying to change a flat tire, forty years old, leaving a young wife and three children forever devastated, or every movie he has ever watched where the ending is not happy, like Casablanca, Gone With the Wind, The War of the Roses, Australia, Seven Pounds; the list grows longer and longer.
Since "Amazing Grace" is our song, the only music he wanted played by a bagpiper the morning we married on a hilltop at Little Brook Sanctuary, where one day our ashes shall be scattered; I realized something was deeply troubling him. Just as I'm about to console him and be a good wife, he tromps back out, in the direction of the coolers full of food. He sticks his head back in and asks, " what is the ham and cheese situation?" No longer having to repair what doesn't need fixing, I just tell him to seek and he will find.