Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Pile (A Ferri Tale)

With great optimism and hope the couple decided to combine their former lives into one new life and one house. The man and the woman packed up everything they had from their old loves and moved it into the new compromise house. Strangely, they both brought many boxes of manure with them, and every time one was brought into the new house is was promptly dumped in the center of the home - that area you must move through every day in living there.

After a short time the family noticed a putrid odor hanging in the air. It was difficult to have fun with the smell permeating every room of the house. They spent a lot of money on air fresheners, but nothing seemed to work. The children got angry and the adults were just annoyed. They really wanted to hang on to everything they brought with them.

Occasionally a discussion lasting through the night would cause one of them to take up a shovel, fill a box, and put it out in the trash. But most of the time everyone just stepped over the pile, getting some of it on their shoes and tracking it out of the house and into the car, leaving bits of it everywhere they went. Family and friends would often sniff the air and wonder what the foul smell was, but they were too polite to say anything.

On a particularly volatile night she fell smack into the pile, her tears wetting the dried up chunks, and the pieces that had stopped stinking started to smell again. The man usually avoided the pile altogether even when she pointed it out to him. This made her very angry.

She yelled, "I'm sick of your shit!"
He said, "It's mine and I'm keeping it."

As the years passed the pile diminished slightly. Sometimes they noticed the reduction of manure and were pleased, but sometimes old manure they thought they had dispossed of reappeared, and they were discouraged. It didn't smell quite as bad, but the stench was always present. They kind of got used to it.

After many years they saw something start to peek out from the pile. It looked clean and bright, but they were afraid to uncover it. The scent of something new hung in the air and sometimes even overpowered the bad smell. They looked at each other and smiled. What could it be? What could have lasted all these years under all that crap?

Finally, one day it surfaced. It smelled sweet and was well-preserved. It glowed from its place in the center of the pile. Apparently it had been there all the time, but neither of them had had the courage to dig down and uncover it. The dried up pieces of manure were easy to toss out and the sweet spot was revealed. It wasn't really a surprise. It was what they had started out with - a beautiful, unbreakable box of trust, respect, admiration - and true love. Then they remembered. They left the box in the central place where it could not be ignored. If it began to grow dim, or new manure rested on top of it, they swept it off, took out the trash, or flushed it down the toilet where it had always belonged anyway.

And the man and the woman never forgot how long it had taken them to uncover something beautiful that had been there all the time - and they knew it always would be.
The End.


Cheryl said...

What a great story. You can apply it to so many things. It made me think of my daughter and her new school. As far as I know, it's all going great, but I wonder if she packed a pencil case of manure in her backpack? I'm going to have her read this.

Amy said...

If the soil is toiled properly, manure stimulates the growth of beautiful things!

Ms Hen said...

Wow... this is Wonderful. Did you write this?

John Ettorre said...

Lovely. Did you see the similar couples story in the Sunday NYT Style section?

Moohaa said...

Very lovely! I really enjoyed that. Your writing is so varied and inspiring!