“Good morning,” I said. It was going to be a hot, sticky day. I noticed the top of the Dutch door was open. I closed it.
“How are you feeling?” I ask.
“Okay.” He doesn’t sound okay. He sounds angry. I sigh. Our emotional landscape is strewn with land mines.
“Got anything planned today?” I phrase my question carefully, presenting it in my most dulcet tones … almost flutey.
He continues to putter at the sink. The anger seems to come from nowhere, settling solidly between us, heavy and sodden.
“I hate to bother you, but could you keep the doors closed when the air conditioning is on? You know, electric bill and stuff.”
Our electric bill the previous month had exceeded our car payment. I didn’t say it, but I must have thought it too loudly. And stepped right on that land mine. Boom. Blew my foot right off.
“All you ever do is criticize me. You don’t appreciate the stuff I do!”
Whatever I might say would just make it worse. He isn’t angry with me. He’s angry with an irrational universe which has saddled him with me. He’s poorly equipped to play the supporting role in a medical melodrama. No natural aptitude for care-giving. Unhappy playing sensitive helpmate to a sickly wife. Nor am I good at being a sickly wife. It’s a boring role.
We wind up locked together in the angry dance. We don’t know the steps and are forever treading on each others’ toes. We don’t care for the melody either, but we have to keep dancing. Tough assignment.
This must be why they put that insidious “for better and worse, in sickness and in health” clause in marriage vows. The “better and health” parts are easy, but the “worse and sickness” section can prove a serious test of a relationship. Life plays cruel jokes.
Pity we never get to see our future until it’s too late to do anything about it. If ever there was such a time.
Fall will come. And cooler weather.
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