My husband has had a rough work week. More like a rough two weeks, really. He’s at the tail end of a major software install that included a massive and messy manual install- as well as unplanned upsets like an expensive piece of hardware blowing up after one of our many recent windstorms. The kind of couple of weeks where he comes home and his Joy of Life is all but gone. I mean I cook him food and I buy him some nice presents out of grocery money and the kids cuddle him and he sees me naked and stuff, but he’s still down in the dumps. It’s one of those times that calls for a little marital kindness – [ insert awesome, freaktastic sexual favor or perhaps delicious, culinary goodness or an extra night out at band practice or whatever it is your spouse really could use ] – but maybe, mostly, a weekend.
So tonight when he starts hounding me to make brownies I decide that, busy as I am writing-writing-writing (not just the novel but another side project as well), I am going to make him brownies. I mean I just made him a pan two days ago, okay – but our children descended like relentless, cyborg jackels and those motherfuckers were gone tout de suite. So, brownies. But you know, I’m busy. I tell him to pick up supplies and I’ll make them. Triumphantly, he whips out the box of brownie mix (yeah, I can make them from scratch, but why?) he’d already squirreled away and brandishes it like, Check it, bitch! OK, well, I tell him we need eggs too – something I know we don’t have (lazy, molting chickens!).
A half hour later and I hit the kitchen to grab a beer. I see the brownie mix on the counter and begin preparations. Ralph walks by and says – his voice betraying all the pain and hurt of Disappointed and Sad: “You don’t have to make brownies. If you don’t want to.” Passive-aggressive FTW! You know, because I didn’t get on it right away. I say, “Hey – you can’t heckle me about something repeatedly then tell me you don’t want it!”
“I was just joking,” he says. “You don’t have to make them.”
The kitchen is silent as I squint at the back of the box. And a second later he says:
“I mean I bought those eggs to show you it was just a joke too,” in that same despondent tone of voice.
And I see the eggs totally posed on the counter to their most obvious and flattering effect. And I start laughing.