decimate (DESS-ih-mate), verb

To reduce something greatly, to the point of wiping it out.

We marked our anniversary by the rib fest. Dry rub, no onion rings. Two or three beers each. Then we marked our anniversary by this discussion. Tea, cribbage, what the hell are we doing? This can’t be enjoyable for you. You’ve said that to me twice now. It’s not. But sometimes it is more enjoyable than rain in the forest. Dusty pine bows turn green again. Droplets of tasteless rain fall off each other into puddles that dig up worms and make kids want to play. Jungle gyms push swings back and forth. Even without kids, the wind will do the job. The loneliness pushes and pulls me back home, out of the rain and onto the couch. Onto the couch where we sat and drank tea. Where we held onto one hand of cribbage for two hours, pretending like we might actually finish the game. Between fifteen-twos and double runs we said how we really felt. This is not fun anymore. But what if we never get those perfect times back? What about when we walked along Pebble Beach and camped in Big Sur? What about the way the great Redwoods towered over us like guardians surrounding our tent? The rain decimated our footprints and that sweet smell of wet dirt that is not quite mud inundated our morning lungs. Then we walked the back 9 until sunset and the drive home was unbearable. How these moments mix and turn. They’re twisted in the way that lead us to our second anniversary of this conversation. Three rib fests and two Februaries have given us five anniversaries in our three years. The first four I preferred. This last one was enough to make me stop playing cribbage.


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