We're not a high-maintenance couple. Our appliances need not have rolled off a German assembly line and road-tested on the Autobahn. It was a simple refrigerator: white, freezer on top, fridge below, two drawers. No ice maker or water dispenser. Just a fridge.
But it became so much more.
After some years in the kitchen, it was relegated to the garage in our last move, becoming our secondary cold storage. For a family of four, it was nice to have a place for things that would otherwise clutter the in-house icebox. Stocked before backyard parties, it gave visitors easy access to drinks.
On hot days in the pool, it's where you got a cold one so you wouldn't trail water through the kitchen. It was my liquid oasis while working under the hot sun. And that intense sun was, I believe, its demise.
During the scorching September heat wave that recent rains have cast from our memory, I opened my garage to that most unpleasant sight. A blast of sickly hot air washed over me as the garage door rose; a hot box exhaling in relief. But it was too late for the refrigerator baking within that sauna. Wheezing achingly, his life-fluids drained from him.
Yes. It was a him. Where boats, barbecues and hurricanes — until more metrosexual times — get feminine identities, the garage fridge can only be male. Why? Because he held everything that made me feel like a guy. He was my porter; my squat, tough, quiet Himalayan porter, carrying everything I put on him with dignity, grace and servitude. Asking only to be plugged in, he held my burdens along with my porterhouse and rib-eye.