I have not seen the movie, THE SHAPE OF WATER. It wasn’t on the airplane playlist. But It’s a very catchy title, so I have adapted it for my purposes.
I’m not talking about the icky mess that requires a plunger. The floaty ball in the tank failed to shut off the inflow. Anyway, the shape of the water that greeted us after a long day in the operating room, was a flat, giant amoeba. We propped the door open so that we could sweep out the water. Some flies got in, but we don’t really care about that. They are annoying, but don’t carry malaria. Only the night mosquitoes do that. The skinny cat with the big ears, who always seems to turn up when we are around, came to the door, desperate for some tuna or at least a hot dog, but he was reluctant to cross the thin waterfall over the threshold.
It’s ironic. At breakfast, this morning, I said, “Well, at least we still have water.” That was just before the woman called to us through the kitchen window, announcing that she was the electrician sent to repair our water heater. I had to inform her that it would futile at that moment, since the power had been off since sometime after 10 pm last night. And no, it wasn’t that we hadn’t prepaid the power company. We had 110 credits when I checked the meter before going to bed.
We had encountered a Goldilocks moment when we arrived back in Tanzania. We were the bears. Someone had been sleeping in our house, and he left his stuff. A receipt indicated he was off climbing Kilimanjaro. When a young man from Oregon returned on Saturday, intending to stay another week, we told him we were surprised to find someone in our house. Hands on hips, he declared, “Well, they didn’t tell me you would be here.” He wasn’t aware that had been assigned to the wrong house.
We hired a man from town to repair the fridge on Saturday. The electrician says the hot water heater is fried and maybe tomorrow he will have the right part. This afternoon, the power was restored, so we plan to heat up water in the electric kettle for a lukewarm bath. Tom just announced that he is wading back to the bedroom for a nap.
A little voice says that maybe someone is trying to tell us we shouldn’t be here. But a great big voice says, “Don’t be ridiculous. This is exactly where you are supposed to be. Have you ever felt happier, more alive?”
There’s the way Kilimanjaro glitters in the sunrise, the rope of ants across the kitchen steps, the grapefruit size tumor removed from a young man’s face (and the three similar sized tumors scheduled for next week), the emergency trach in a baby who choked on gravel, the six-hour throat reconstruction in a woman who has been unable to speak ever since she slashed her own throat 7 months ago, in the throes of post-partum depression. Monkeys are jumping on our car, coming to beg for bananas.
We’ll have plenty of hot water when we get home.