By Melinda Munson

When he left, our maroon Highlander was whole. True, there were minor scratches and a place where our 8-year-old gnaws on the door handle when he’s frustrated. (This is why we don’t have a dog.) But all the windows and working pieces were intact. It was a respectable family car, a sensible SUV prepared for the upcoming Alaska winter.

When my husband, Paul, returned, there was no back windshield. I didn’t take it well. I like to think that in a different week, I would have responded with more reason and empathy. We all make mistakes, right?

This was not a good week. I was on deadline for the paper. I had just started teaching high school Zoom classes and I was on day three of a migraine accompanied by constant nausea. Plus, I have seven kids.

“What do you mean you backed into a trailer when you answered your cell phone? Why did you pick up?” I demanded.

“If you don’t want me to pick up the phone, then don’t call me,” he countered. He might have been joking. I lost it.

“That’s a mistake we would have made in our 20s, not our 40s,” I hissed. 

My neighbor walked by. He looked at me like he was glad we weren’t married. He had a point.

Later, I calmed down and called from the office to apologize. What really upset me was the thought of another task to complete. The Yukon border remains closed so there’d be no 2.5 hour jaunt up the pass to have the vehicle repaired in Whitehorse. We could put the Toyota on the ferry but that would mean we’d be short one adult for several days and Juneau COVID cases are escalating. Nothing in Skagway is easy. We knew that when we moved here.

When I returned home that night, Paul greeted me at the bedroom door. 

“Lucy, you’ve got some explaining to do,” he said in a Ricky Ricardo voice. I was confused.

“I told you I’d be late.”

“Why do you have three pendants,” he asked, gesturing to the closet.

Oh shoot. Lately, I’ve become enamored with necklaces from The Local Jeweler. I’ve never been a jewelry person but those elegant semi-precious stones look good on my neck and we promise to support local businesses each time we sign the monthly CARES applications.

I told Paul about the first purchases but hadn’t had a chance to disclose the third, although I’d worn it several times.

“Um…You’re right. That’s a mistake I would have made in my 20s, not my 40s,” I said.

After his promise to put away the phone while driving and my assurance that I’d stay away from the yellow jewelry shop, we’re back on track. But I still haven’t figured out how to fix the window.