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It's the thought that counts

Photo by Vicki Harris

Photo by Vicki Harris

Time heals all wounds ... unless you pick at them.

I wanted to be mad at my husband the other day, but I was too tired. I don't remember what he did exactly, but I do remember having the fleeting thought of, "Hmmm, I should really be aggravated by that." But -- sigh -- then it passed. I just didn't have it in me.

It must not have been that bad.

We've come a long way in the nearly 20 years we've been married. I don't feel the need to talk to him 47 times a day. He now likes to iron. I have convinced him that he really likes little green peas. We can read each other's minds.

"What would you like for dinner?" I ask.

"Oh, let's ...," he says.

"No, not that," I break in. "We've got some ..."

"Umm. No, not in the mood for that," he says. "I could ..."

"We had that last weekend," I tell him. "I'm tired of it."

"What?!" he exclaims. "How can you be tired of it?"

And we end up having chicken.

We don't get mad at each other either. Oh, we pick and fuss, but I can't remember the last time we truly made the other mad. Besides, who needs new reasons to be aggravated when you can dredge up old ones?

"Do you remember that time I was sick?" I asked out loud the other evening as we sat in the den watching television. Something was on that reminded me of something that made me think of something else and then I remembered a time I was sick about nine years ago.

That aggravates him -- my uncanny ability to jump into the middle of a conversation that originated in my head and ends up out there for him to try and figure out what I'm talking about. He gives me a look of uncertainty, one eyebrow cocked higher than the other, lips pursed together. I opened my mouth to elaborate, and the light bulb went off.

"Oh, yeah," he says. "That time." Then he immediately points across the room to where our 13-year-old daughter sits in a chair and says, "But everything came out fine and, look, she had fun!" She looked at us both and didn't have to speak. I knew her You-People-Are-Weird look all too well.

"What?" she finally said, and I relayed to her the story of how I was grossly ill in the bed, my head temporarily cemented underneath a pillow, weaving in and out of a consciousness punctuated by occasional moans. Her father was in charge. I was in a complete place of gastro-turbulance-induced trust.

Until I woke up.

"Where is she?" I asked of our small daughter.

"She went to play," he told me, pleased with himself.

"With who?" I asked.

Silence.

"Those people. They called and invited her," he said.

"Those people? What people? Do you know them? What kind of car did they drive? Did they tell you where they live? Leave a number? Were they human? What time is she coming home?"

"They looked normal," he said. "They knew your name."

Oh, that was comforting. They knew my name. Sure, you can have my child as long as you know my name.

Our daughter laughed as I retold my panic. Her father shook his head. He remembered, all right, and reminded me that everything turned out just fine. She had a great time playing at her friend's house. They returned her happy and healthy. And I knew them.

"You know the moral to this story, don't you?" he said.

He looked at us both. My heart filled with pride. This was a teaching moment. He was about to tell her that he should have been more responsible. Our own, personal After School Special moment.

"Mom shouldn't get sick," he said.

Silence.

Good thing he can read my mind. Even better that our 13-year-old can't.

Contact columnist Mandy Flynn at flyn1862@bellsouth.net.