The Beast in the Basement


I went down to my basement last nite to do some laundry and something caught my eye. I looked up and there is some sort of computer mouse attached to some other wire, which is connected to some other electronic thingy and I have no idea what it means or if I can take it down. Obviously, it’s something that Bob hooked up while tinkering with his “Beast in the Basement”, which he built from odds and ends of other computers or maybe when he was using my old ( really old) PC as his “killing things” machine – via PC games, that is.

I began looking around and thinking about how we spent more time together down there when he was moving out than we ever had before. We had so much housed there, as when we moved in, we were also moving my mom’s belongings because was in the hospital battling ovarian cancer, but we knew she was never going to make it out.

So, there was her stuff,  Bob’s, mine, my children’s, my father’s, my grandmother’s, some of each of my brothers  . . . crazy. I’m still finding things  that are Bob’s here and there as I continue to make my way thru the boxes and totes and bags stored down there.

It was kind of his domain as well, in addition to my son and his friends using it as a flop house. As I studied everything near the workbench, I recalled how after we had broken up, the day he moved his belongings out, he instructed me on how to use the Shop Vac, what cables went with what, what paint/stain/varnish was for which project, which belt was for which vacuum cleaner, what tools was used for what, etc . . .  This was true for the garage as well, but being in that basement . . . made me very sad.

He would talk and explain and look at me and with annoyance and impatience, ask: “Are you paying attention? You need to know this stuff.”  I was paying attention. Paying very close attention to the fact that I wanted him to stop. I wanted to scream “I don’t need to know any of this! I don’t need to know because you are coming back! You aren’t really leaving! THIS IS NOT REALLY HAPPENING! Look at ME! Pull me to you like did a few days before in the garage! KISS ME!  Grab my ass and make that “rawr” sound! Pull me down on the futon! NO NO NO NO – you can’t really be leaving me!  THIS WASN’T SUPPOSED TO EVER HAPPEN TO US! PLEASE TELL ME THIS ISN’T HAPPENING!!!”

But, it happened. And he never came back. And he never will.

I looked around and thought of all the projects and hours upon hours spent together at Home Depot buying supplies and watching him lust over power tools. We checked the DIY web sites and decided what “we” could accomplish (I was really just the “supervisor”) and what to prioritize. Bob did some amazing work and I am very thankful for what he was able to complete.

There was much left unfinished; bits and pieces of plans and undertakings. Every time I throw something else away, it seals the deal in my heart that Bob is gone. It makes me So. Very. Sad. So much left undone. Plans that will never come to fruition.

I went back upstairs, my eyes must have been red; my son asked what was wrong. “The usual” I said.

Because, you know, it’s so absolutely normal for the site of a workbench to make you cry.



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