Last night, elevenish. I should be in bed, enjoying the raptures that come with a nearly two-decade long marriage (or is that an oxymoron). Instead, I’m sitting on the couch, playing ’80’s Fun Factory (those clubbers of you know what I’m talking about), and Rog has one arm around my shoulders, the other on my waist. I feel a disturbance in the force. Something’s awry. I look down. I have a sliver of white belly fat poking out between my shirt and pants. Well, really, it’s more like an albino hotdog lying on its side, making an unscheduled appearance.
I subtly take the material between my thumb and forefinger, covering the kosher meat product. He notices. “If I can’t see it, it doesn’t exist,” I say with a laugh.
Rog roars. Full body-shaking, shoulder-collapsing movement that shows just how mortifying a horizontal hot-dog on one’s stomach can be. The moment passes, I make a mental note to do more sit-ups the following morning and that program-from-Dante’s 7th ring of hell on the elyptical and forget it.
This morning, I’m at the kitchen counter writing. I’ve finished making breakfast for a legion of girls, cleaned the counters and shunted the bodies downstairs to play for two hours so I can write. Rog mosies out from his office/den, searching around like a puppy sniffing hydrants.
His random motions distract, then disturbs me. I can’t concentrate. I sense he’s nearing the sink, going to do the dishes.
“No,” I tell him. You will make noise. I’ve just gotten the kids occupied. You must leave.” He scowls.
“I can’t take stuff in the sink,” he replies, the grumpiness associated with me not doing my job.
I lift my fingers from the keypad, debating my response. I could fight irritation with irritation, but I am supposed to be writing something akin to romance, not reality. The next option is a reasonable conversation about the timing of acts, such as writing during the precious and the ever-elusive quiet I seek as an author, but I set that aside. I don’t have that kind of time in my life. I go for the third, most reasonable choice.
“It’s like my belly fat. If I don’t see it, it doesn’t exist.” He pauses, on the edge of laughing and being irate. “Or, if you don’t like that option, you can just build me a bigger house where you don’t emerge from the office and see the dishes.”
Eyes narrow. Hands twitch with a frustration born of 18 yrs together, knowing that a little tiff like this will have negative consequences in the bedroom when he least wants it.
“I’ll take option number one,” he says with a painful smile. As he turns, he casts me a backward glance. “I’m not angry, because if you don’t see it, it doesn’t exist.”
My thoughts exactly.