Saturday’s Treaties

After you tell him off, duck into the bathroom before he can counter.  Sit on the edge of the porcelain tub, your head rattling from your screams and the slammed door.  Gather your thoughts.  Think about the time he did this and that.  Collect evidence.  Before he left the baby alone in the house—to buy Coors Light and Fritos at the gas station across the street—he didn’t get up in the middle of the night with you when the baby had acid reflux.  Before you had a baby, he would often stay out late, drinking with friends.  The next day, he would watch football, his head perched on the arm of your mid-century couch, an exclamation to your wordless protests: you reading, sitting in the arm chair, intermittently looking at the back of his head.     

Consider your options again.  You could sleep on the futon in the office, get your own apartment, live in your mother’s basement, or see if your single girlfriend wants a roommate.  Then when you are sufficiently filled with alternatives, walk into the kitchen where he is unloading the dishwasher and the baby is eating avocado and banana in her high chair.  Grab the keys off the counter and leave.  As you are backing the car out of the garage, think about going into the city to do some shopping.  Realize that you feel very tired and go to the grocery store instead.  Buy more avocadoes, a red pepper, and Pink Lady apples.  Review the ingredients on both the organic and non-organic rice-cereal boxes.  Put both back, realizing he picked some up yesterday.  Then waste ten minutes in the frozen foods isle, trying to find a pizza that you haven’t tried before. 

In the parking lot, sit in the front seat for a while.  Stare into the passenger-side window of the empty Highlander parked beside you and have a good cry.  Feel trapped.  Feel like it’s hopeless.  Feel deficient as a mother and not particularly special altogether.  On the drive home, pull into the book store without signaling.  Kill more time perusing the cooking and literature sections.  Find nothing.  Then purchase another Sandra Boynton board book and When Mama Comes Home Tonight by Eileen Spinelli.  After having a nice chat with the store owner, who also took writing classes at the university, drive home feeling daydreamy and acquiescent.   

Put the baby to bed early and go back downstairs to help him cook chicken piccata for dinner.  Offer to chop the parsley and set the table.  As you eat, exchange accounts of the baby but don’t look into his willing gray eyes for more than a few seconds.  Instead, stare at the paisley wallpaper as if to ascertain its meaning.  Think about the time when you remodeled the kitchen together—he bent over, combing the mastic onto the floor as you peeled off old wallpaper and handed him tiles, all the while fretting that the fumes could deform the baby growing inside you, chewing the worry in your head like a piece of gum that has lost its flavor. 

After reuniting later that night via means of screwing, conclude that you and he have composed a history together, one that cannot be so easily refuted.  Think about the supporting this’s and that’s: tonight’s dinner (and the other dinners), how he cuts the baby’s food into pea-size morsels and brushes your hair if you ask him to.  Fall asleep, mostly content but slightly apprehensive of ensuing possibilities.

2 Comments

  1. Wow. An honest glimpse of partnership is always welcome. Well done.

  2. An honest portrait of a comfortable marriage. Love the voice.

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