A Mitch Tobin Mystery
I had first met Robin Kennely just the day before, when she had come to see me at my house in Queens. I was in back, working on my wall, when Kate came out to say, “There’s a girl here to see you.”
That made no sense. Because of past history I felt a flickering instant of frightened guilt, but there was nothing in the now to feel guilty about, so it went away. I rested on my shovel and said, “Who is she?”
I was standing in the hole I was digging, and Kate stood over me. If you are going to build a wall, and if it is to be a good wall, long-lasting, solid, dependable, it is necessary first to dig. The wall must start in the ground, down below the frost line. Working slowly, carefully, working perhaps no more than a day or two a week, I had in the last several months dug about half of the necessary trench, putting down one level layer of concrete block in my wake, to guard against erosion of the sides. I was in no particular hurry to finish my wall; its construction was its own purpose.
What Kate understands of my wall, or of me, I do not know. She is my wife, and she has chosen to stay with me, and I am grateful without curiosity. I fear sometimes that like a fragile flower, the life I have constructed for myself will crumble if I ever submit it to investigation, so I walk softly, I work slowly on my wall, I do not feel curiosity.