Monday, Nov. 25, 2002, 3:50 AM

Pruning and snow

It has been a few days. I have been busy. Too busy to update you ask? Yes. I woke up on Friday morning to find my truck covered in a dusting if snow. It was the first of the season. And I thought that my truck looks like I feel, cold to the touch and indistinguishable from any other like it. Friday was busy. I worked all day only stopping for lunch. I worked all night only stopping for dinner, and when the clock chimed five in the morning I decided to wrap it up for the day.

Saturday dawned cold but snow-free. It was time for the family to make the yearly trip to grandmother's house to rake leaves and trim ivy and prune trees. That was my job, pruning trees. The trees in question are more like bushes with thick trunks. Two hazelnut trees along her driveway. The yard where the trees sit is at least as steep as the grading curve at an Ivy League college, and twice as slippery. Armed only with a handsaw I set to work. A furious battle ensued. The ground was already littered with leaves, and the limbs fell in heaps all around. The sun neglected to make an appearance as the first opponent fell, overwhelmed and cut down. The second opponent was harder than the first and had the advantage of high ground. It was a struggle to hold on and still maintain focus. Victory came at the cost of a hard crack on the left elbow, a welt across the neck where a branch flew through my defenses to strike, and an arm that burned like fire from wielding my weapon for hours on end. The battlefield was piled high with the bodies of my fallen foes. After establishing my superiority I set about to the unpleasant task of clearing the area before feasting with my comrades who were also victorious on other fronts.

That night, after dinner, I programmed until the clock struck five in the morning. History repeats itself, sometimes on a very short timeline.

Sunday dawned and I wasn't awake to see it. The sun had past it's perihelion when I staggered from my sleeping quarters, sore and weary in my bones. I will make an official plea to the world at this point - my kingdom for a good massage. I have never had the opportunity to visit a professional masseuse, my wife and I can not abide each other enough as we bludgeon one another in our current divorce proceedings to bother breaching the subject, and I am too many years from college to find some willing female for the exchange. So I took a hot shower instead.

But Sunday was true to its name. The sun shown brilliantly outside. I am not interested in relaying the entire story of the day, so here is the briefest possible synopsis:

A accidental meeting with my wife in town; a hickey on her neck; an angry exchange; several hours alone to negotiate the quagmire of emotions; an unanswered late night call to the apartment; a trip to said apartment to pick up mail; a discovery of bodies tangled on the floor; a hasty departure of male counterpart to wife's sprawling body; a confession that hickey was not from this intruder but rather another accomplice in another crime of passion; a quick totaling in my mind to the number four in the last month since my unhappy discovery; and now onto writing.

And all that she has to say is that I am such a great guy. Not "sorry," not "I'm a monster," not "you've been played," just "you are such a great guy."

I am Jack's raging humiliation.
I am Jack's clenched fist.
I am Jack's complete and utter despondence.

I feel like I have stumbled into a John Cusack movie. Perhaps Better Off Dead. And that's alright because I'll just focus on the happy ending that is bound to come. Right?