Gary wearing a flannel work shirt, long-sleeved, over his T-shirt. Jeans and boots. His uniform. He looked like a younger man, still fit for his mid-fifties. Irene still liked how he looked. Unshaven, unshowered at the moment, but real.
They were going to build their cabin from scratch. No foundation, even. And no plans, no experience, no permits, no advice welcome. Gary wanted to just do it, as if the two of them were the first to come upon this wilderness.
She didn’t know how everything had changed. In the beginning, she had slept with an arm and a leg over him, every night. They had spent Sundays in bed. They had hunted together, footsteps in sync, bows held ready, listening for moose, watching for movement. The forest a living presence then, and they a part of it, never alone. But Gary had stopped bowhunting. Too worried about money, using the weekends to work, no more Sundays in bed.
He leaned in close over her and smiled a little as he said this, trying to imply, and feel, all kinds of secrets between them. He had heard a man say once, Now she’s a breeder, and as ugly and psycho as this line was, and distasteful to him, it occurred to him now that this was nonetheless true. Here was the woman he wanted to make babies with. He couldn’t imagine her changing diapers or even being pregnant, but he could see his strong, tall, beautiful children in a portrait some day, all devoid of any type of insecurity or struggle.