CREDOS: Stubborn Love — II

Shaking away the morning’s events, I sighed and walked on toward the mailbox, which looked as defeated as I felt. Ever since a car had plowed into the side of it, the pole had been bent and the door hung ajar. Reaching inside, my hand brushed against a stack of envelopes - then something peculiar, like broom bristles. I peered inside. The day’s mail sat on top of a small collection of weeds and pine straw. Somebody’s idea of a prank, I decided.

As I raked it out, a drop of rain splatted on my face. I shuffled toward the house, not bothering to hurry. That afternoon Bob breezed in from school and disappeared into his room. “How was your day?” I said, tagging behind him, trying to ignore the rift between us. “Okay,” he said, pulling off his shirt. He tossed the monogrammed thing on the floor at my feet. I glared at it, like he’d thrown down a gauntlet. He rummaged through his drawer for the inevitable cutoff sweatshirt. I wheeled around to leave, then turned back. “Did you put pine straw in the mailbox?” I asked.

He gave me a confused look. “What?” “Never mind,” I said. The next day when I went to the mailbox, it was there again. A smattering of pine straw, some twigs, two dead dandelions. Each day I found a bouquet of weeds in the mailbox. And each day I whisked it out. I didn’t bring up the subject with Bob again. As a matter of fact, I quit discussing anything with Bob. Every time a conflict arose, I simply left the room or changed the subject. —