Plumbing and Independence

He called her from Iraq.

She told him that she planned to fix the toilet.

It had been malfunctioning for months,

even after he had 'repaired' it.

He became irritated,

as he usually did.

He began to berate her,

as he usually did.

"You can't fix that yourself."

"You don't even know what's wrong with it."

"Do you even have any tools?"

She ended the conversation.

She looked carefully at the mechanisms in the toilet tank.

She noted exactly what was wrong.

She drew a diagram.

At the hardware store,

she presented the problem

and was presented

with a replacement kit.

At home, she read the instructions.

She read them again.

She took a break and gathered some tools.

She read the instructions again.

Still baffled, she followed step one.

That was easy enough.

She followed step two.

When the toilet was fully repaired,

and working better than it had in years,

she had a celebratory bowl of ice cream

and wondered

what else she was capable of doing herself.…