So I’ve made a dinner that I consider to be a fucking master piece. It combines all my skills I have acquired over the years – getting the most flavour from each ingredient. I announce the master piece to the children with “din-din”. It captures nothing of the epic effort that I’ve put in to this pasta. You would’ve thought that I had made the pasta itself. I didn’t. The kids watch tv while I pour myself a third glass of wine in the other room. They’re shouting and still watching tv and it’s clear this night can be chalked up to another failure on my part to shovel the values of nutrition and family-time down their throats.
“Does balsamic vinegar have umami?” I wonder. If it does, this pasta really does fucking rock. And hopefully this pasta will soak up a little wine before I have to put the kids to bed cause fucking hell. Is it only Tuesday? What would running away look like? Would there be crying children and a lost-puppy husband? Who would get them ready for school? Would I care? Or would I be so enthralled by thought of being alone that I have a pedicure instead? It would change who they are. It would be the glitch in their life – my leaving. There are a lot of ways to ruin innocence. Is that the goal? If I think back to my childhood, the answer is yes. Today he said I do nothing for him. It makes it so easy to walk away. Is this my chance? Do I take it?
This wine is cheap. It’s got no legs. And neither do I.
Will he come home? Do we ugh talk? Silence seems to be the common denominator of marriage.
The other day I dusted that shelf he hates – will he notice? Today’s single triumph – I made enough pasta that there will be leftovers for the kids’ lunches. Good thing it’s fucking tasty as shit.
The next morning I’m surprised to wake up without a headache. I still feel like a hornet whose nest has been jostled. There is predictable silence between us but we’re trying to be our happiest selves around the kids. The oldest one eyes me closely always sensitive to everyone else’s moods. The youngest is excited for art class today.
I leave for work quickly after the kids have been hustled out of the door. He sends a text later “let’s meet for lunch.”
“Can’t,” I reply. “Too busy.”
It’s quiet after the kids have gone to bed. And it’s Wednesday so I know he’ll be out late. Except he comes home. It’s amazing the results you get once you’ve lowered your expectations. He asks me to come into the dining room with him. We sip our tea. “We’re like a cactus, you and me. We don’t need a lot of care but we need some attention now and then.” And all the sting is gone. I keep choosing this man again and again. Water and sunlight – that’s all we need.