Chapter 3 - A Drip and a Christmas Box

Norman had been in his new house for a week, and things were just beginning to get comfortable.

The minor flaws were starting to endear themselves into his heart. The little scratches and dinks in the wood floors and on the trim. Some imperfections in the walls. The way you needed to give the back door an extra little nudge to get it to latch. All of these things, though originally items that seemed to need immediate attention, began to become part of Norman's overall definition of the word "Home".

It is almost like they were even becoming a part of Norman. He identified with them, even feeling a bit safer at night knowing that he had given that back door a little kick just before he went off to bed.

Some of the major flaws were being worked on though. Things that worked against that "homey" feeling. For example, on the third day after he moved in there was a bit of a rain. It wasn't much, and it didn't last long, but it produced a slight drip above the stove in the kitchen. He had seen the spots on the stove when he had moved in, but had thought nothing of it. Well, now he was thinking something of it, and it wasn't good. Since he wasn't due back at work for another week, he had decided to investigate this unwanted drip in his new paradise.

The first stop on his trek to the drip source was the attic. He had only been up there once, when he was stowing away his Christmas box. There were a few other boxes up there along with some odds and ends that he knew he would never need again, but just couldn't throw out. Even though he had put all of the boxes and all of the other junk up there himself, the only thing that he could specifically remember was the Christmas box. As he lifted up the attic door, he took a moment to glance over at the box again. He remembered that as he had put it up there, it felt like he was dropping anchor.

His Christmas box was covered with a small child's handwriting, his own. The main title of the box, which was the oldest writing, said, "Christmiss box!!!" He couldn't remember why he had added the three exclamation points at the end. He wasn't for sure if he even had the memory of writing that part at all, but he had very vivid memories of the writing of the "Christmiss" part. He had been very careful about that part, his father had been observing that. His father had also made sure that this box didn't say "X-mas" like so many boxes do.

"That would leave out the best part." His father had said in a voice that was a little hushed, as if he was sharing with Norman one of the greatest secrets in the world. "Don't leave 'Christ' out, He is the very reason we celebrate." His father had given his ear a little tug and then handed him the marker. He spelled out the word up to the "m" and then stated, "Well done. The important part is there, you can do the rest yourself."

When he had finished sounding out and writing the rest, his father had looked so happy. Norman never forgot that moment. His father always knew how to make you feel special. Most people just thought of Norman's father as a simple minded little man, but Norman, especially in retrospect, considered his father one of the most intelligent men he knew.

He stood at the top of the attic stairs for a little longer than he could recollect, and then laughed out loud at himself. It had suddenly dawned on him that the last time he was climbing these stairs he had done the exact same thing. He had been contemplating about how people everywhere must think of their Christmas boxes as anchors.

"Well, on to that drip." He said, quite matter-of-factly to nobody. And nobody answered, as nobody always did.

When he reached the place in the attic where he thought he would find the leaky spot, he began to examine the area. He looked at it quite thoroughly, almost convincing himself that he knew what he was doing. He finally decided that a leak like this could only be fixed from the roof. He started heading down the attic stairs, muttering to himself about the supplies that would need to be purchased.

As he closed the attic up, he heard a knock on the door. He was slightly startled at the noise. He knew that he didn't know anyone, and not knowing anyone meant that he wasn't expecting anyone. He went to the door and cautiously opened it.

At the door was one of the biggest men that he had ever seen. The man wore a broad rimmed hat, that Norman imagined would touch the top of the door, if the man decided that coming in would be the thing to do. The man also had on a flannel shirt, coveralls, and large, slightly muddy boots. Actually, as Norman looked back over the man, he noticed that everything about this guy was slightly muddy.

The man looked at him, and gave him a big grin from out his huge beard. They looked at each other for a slightly uncomfortable amount of time, before Norman realized that the man had extended one of his huge, thick-fingered hands in greeting. Norman watched as his hand went out, on its own, in the direction of the man's enormous paw.

As they shook hands, the man kept his gaze focused on Norman's eyes, and said, "Got yourself a leak, don't ya?"


wilsonian said...

This is really very good. I'd love to read the rest :)

mattharmless said...

Thank you.

I will try to complete this some day.