Friday, April 28, 2006


Melody left for Nashville this morning. I took a sunny picture of her and kissed her good-bye. I set her up with a CD player adapter for the car, and all the old ZenderTalks from 2004. She has her shoes and her money and a cell phone and books about happy women and a new feminine hair ribbon that she tied back parts of her hair with. Melody looks good in the sun and in the moon.

I waved to her as she drove away. I had made her coffee, and she took that with her. I wrote her a card that she won’t see until she unloads a book from the car in Nashville. Larry and Jamie will look after her.

Melody likes to drive by herself. A car is a private place for a person to think in. A person in a car can easily imagine that he or she controls his or her own destiny; look at all the controls that are in the car. Cars are relative paradises of relative control, what with all the knobs, the switches and the tiny levers. Airline pilots must feel like gods. It is control we lack, so it is control we look for, even if it is only a treble adjustment or a flap switch. Turn down the treble and retract the flaps; see what little it takes for a Deity-like feeling. But see, as well, how hard it is to manufacture it: plastic factories (or plastic factories) come, lots of heat comes, labor unions come.

I loved my wife through the window as I waved at her. I hope she comes back. I don’t want her to die. I drove past the cemetery on the way back to work and I thought, What if Melody dies? What if she gets in a car crash and dies? What if that was the last picture I ever took of her? What if, thirty years from now, I am still looking at that picture and kissing it and telling it that I love it?

The tears came, but I pushed them back. I don’t understand why I pushed them back, because I almost always let them come. I am not one to push back tears. Maybe it is because I think that Melody will have a good time. I am glad the car is sunny and that I made Melody a good cup of Folgers and poured it thoughtfully into her green, plastic mug. She will listen to ZenderTalks and music and will be happy. She will be proud of me for making the ZenderTalks. She likes that I love God. It is the most important thing to her, to have a husband and children who love and honor God. Women need men to be something in this world.

If a man hopes to attract a woman in this world, he cannot hang out on a street corner and watch them. He must do something to make a difference in the world. A woman will notice when a man lives from his gut. (It helps if the man keeps his shoes clean.) A woman always notices a man with a purpose. Women do not care for the male ass as men care for the ass of the female. Women appreciate a man with good solid rump, but women will go first for the man of purpose. If the man of purpose has a splendid ass, then so much bonus. It is all bonus. It is a bonus for which women ought to thank the Deity.

I was walking through the grocery store dressed spiffily one day when the cashier girl said, “You look like a man with a purpose.” I was so flattered. I’ve never forgotten that. It had the same effect on me as the effect on a woman would have should a man say to her: “You are so beautiful.”

I discovered Melody in 1982 through her eyes and, later—when she first came down the steps of her home—through her ass. These led to deeper chambers. I love most of the chambers. I know who Melody is now, and she knows me. This is comforting on a level that I have not named. On another level, it is disconcerting; the name of this level is “disconcerting.” Other people have named it “baggage.” The baggage level works in concert with other, more pleasing platforms. Levels and platforms: this is the mix that every married couple celebrates and endures. God has arranged it thus to build character and to warm a fire in the fireplace.

I hope my wife does not die.

Melody has told me, “If something ever happens to me, I want you to remarry. I want you to find another goddess.”

Why would I want to talk or think about that? I guess for the same reason that crazy people pre-buy grave plots. Melody is trying to leave me something in the terrible wake of her absence. Something like a legacy or a will. But I cannot think about that on top of what I think of as I drive past the cemetery this morning, ten minutes after waving good-bye to my beloved partner of twenty-four years. Tomorrow morning, my partner will walk and run 13 miles as fast as she can with her friend Jamie during what meteorologists are calling to be a thunderstorm. The drama should end in less than three hours. The thunderstorms of tomorrow will contrast with the sunshine of today to make a pattern of the eon for we who appreciate fireplaces.

I’ll probably die first anyway.

© 2006 by Martin Zender