An Incomplete Lesson

This morning in a moment of inspiration, as I was beginning my slog on the treadmill at 5:00 a.m., a fresh blanket of snow outside the window, I said to myself, suit up and go get your exercise outside. Surprise your husband by shoveling the walk, clearing the cars, get a start on the snow blowing. The idea built up and a half mile into my workout, I did just that. As I work out, I listen to an engrossing audiobook (Know My Name by Chanel Miller) and I don’t want to stop and so I figure I can continue to listen as I clear the snow.

Bundled up, I start on the sidewalk, continuing to listen to my book. I pause at a particularly good description of what the author is feeling in that moment. Then I move to the cars, clearing the snow bit by bit until the shape of them is visible, clean. Now the snow blower, a thing I have wrestled with in the past and have figured out through Google and YouTube videos, a hulk of a machine I have rarely used. The memory of how to work it is still somewhere within in me and I finally get it going, a sputter, a cough and then a constant heavy whir. I won’t be able to listen to my book after all.

Behind both ears are the devices that transmit the sound to my brain through bone conduction hearing aids held in place by titanium plates and the magnetic ends of the processors. No need for them now as I pluck them and pull open the battery doors to shut them down, fold them into my pockets along with the keys to our cars which I plan on moving as soon as I clear a path so I can complete the entire driveway. I continue on, marching up and down the driveway, clearing a path like magic. It’s a beautiful morning, still dark and nearly peaceful save the loud chugging of the machine in front of me. The exercise is good. My heartrate is raised, a thin film of sweat is developing beneath my clothes. My husband will be so surprised and happy when he sees what I’ve done!

I’m about halfway done when my husband appears, suited up to take over the job I started, a grin on his face as he sees my humble offering of kindness. He kisses me and tells me he’s got it, a great moment, we are both happy. I can now return to my usual morning routine which includes making coffee, a shower, climb the circular stairs to my office in the loft to read and write. I remember the hearing aids which I’ll want to use later and pull one from one pocket and then find only a pocketful of receipts and candy wrappers in the other. My heart dips. I have lost a hearing aid in the snowy mess outside during my act of kindness!

How will the story end? The hearing aid will have fallen from my pocket in the garage, safe from the claws of the snow blower? It will have come out when I removed my car keys as I entered my car to start it? It will have fallen through a hole in the lining of my pocket, now floating around inside my coat somewhere? So far none of these things have happened and so I don’t know where the story is going to end. It will likely be something like spending nearly $5,000 to replace the thing and what an expensive act of kindness this is going to turn out to be.


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