The signs were there from the very beginning of our relationship. The way he fingered each individual flannel in the L.L. Bean store. How 80% of his Scrabble turn was spent with his hands deep in the tile bag, slowly caressing the finish on each individual letter. On our first date in college, he looked deep into my eyes and sang the Log Song from Ren & Stimpy. I thought to myself, “Now here’s a guy who is really up on his early 90s nostalgia.” He looked like all the other hipster guys in their outdoorsman outfits. Little did I know that he was into more than just the harmless fashion trend.
When we moved in together, it took me awhile to notice the signs. The wood block table he so lovingly crafted from wood pallets seemed like a great choice for the kitchen and his willingness to be a bit more “adventurous” during our dinner prep was a welcome change. If only I knew it was the supple hardwood he couldn’t wait to have between his legs. Eventually he began to bring it into the bedroom: soon the cherry dresser began to be more intimate with him than I did and the cypress night table replaced me as the last thing he caressed before closing his eyes.
It was while sitting in our artisanal cypress porch swing with a beautiful natural finish that it finally dawned on me – I would never measure up to his yardstick. Our relationship had whittled down to nothing.
I’m not proud of the fact that I didn’t immediately leave. I tried to entice him by integrating his fetish into our lives. I began wearing chopsticks in my hair, clogs, and those weird Chinese bracelets from the 90s on an every day basis. I learned how to wield an ax, bought flannel after flannel, and headed out with him on his now daily excursions to the woods behind our local Target. When he came home one day from his job at the investment bank and announced that he was going to work at the Christmas tree farm, I supported him, even though it cost more than his paycheck each week to support his sapling habit as he continued to spread his seed – sometimes in community parks, but embarrassingly it was more often than not in our own backyard.
It was when he began to lay birch logs between us in bed that I realized I needed to put our relationship on the chopping block. I couldn’t be sidelined for such a bland, simple cut of wood. I unpacked the mahogany bookcase he had built with his bare hands, threw out the balsa wood bookmark he made me for our fifth anniversary (although to be fair, every anniversary was a wood anniversary with him), and burned every single piece of furniture he so lovingly crafted over the past 8 years. To my neighbors, it just looked like a typical Saturday night fire pit. To me, it was the sweet release of a wasted youth.