Christ. I’m slurring my words again. She can’t know that. She can’t hear that. She’ll fucking kill me.
"You always drink so much when you go to The Workhorse! You and those blue-collar fucks!"
What does she know? It’s a bit self serving; I admit. I put a roof over her and my head. I can enjoy a few drinks and laughs with the local social detritus. She’ll ask how I even got home and look for the truck which is not parked in front of the house.
Good. It will probably help the property value to leave that eye-sore behind the bar. She’s always huffing and puffing like that, but I know it’s only because she wants the best for me. When will she get it, though? Will she ever realize that she is the best for me? The whole reason I wake up in the fog of a hangover, shuffle through a shower, and out the door to the office for hours on end (with no over-time, mind you), is because of her. She want’s the house; I want the house. She wants the new fence; I hate fences, but fuck it, I’ll get her that fence. She want’s it painted white…Fine. What’s cheaper? A stranger painting my fence or buying the god-damned paint myself and having her harping over missing a spot, or one section’s coat is too thick?
Emotionally…probably hiring a stranger, but I fucking hate people that aren’t my wife, my family, or people that are okay with being uncomfortable around me (aka friends). I’ll paint that fence and get yelled at for the sheer comedy of it all. Sunbaked skin baptized in a white sheen. She’ll yell just to egg me on and I’ll tolerate it until I have to turn and chase her off the porch, paint dripping across the lawn and on to the floorboards memorializing this moment.
A porcelain handprint will interrupt her floral print pattern and shout “mine” and a simultaneous “I’m yours.” She wants the kiss, but she hates the taste. It’s a Texas summer and I’ll be drenched in sweat. Salt. She’s more of a sweet girl.
But I need to snap out of it. I’m not even halfway up the block and she’s sitting on the porch, book in hand, scowl on face.
"I fucking knew it. Your dinner is almost cold. I was nearly convinced and hoped you had died, " she hollered.
Only the people you love say something so stupid. She dropped her book, sent the cat running in to the screen door, marched down the steps to the white front gate and stood her ground, hands planted firmly a shoulder width apart on the pickets.
"Give me one reason why I should let you in to the yard. Give me another to let you in to the house. Then, I want you to give me a third as to why I should share the bed with the likes of you.”
She licked her lips, curled them back over her teeth for a second and began to nod.
"The man with no words. Again."
She’s right. None. Who am I kidding, though? I always have a smart remark…I think.
"I’m sorry, bub. It was a long day at the office."
"Okay…there’s one." - She opened the gate.
"I had just a few beers-"
"Some shots, but not too many! I didn’t even pay for them. Jake, from the auto-shop bought them. I don’t feel sick or nauseated or anything like that."
"The second reason…The second reason, so I can come in to OUR house, is that I’m up for a promotion."
"You’re always up for a promotion."
"Yes. True. But they’ve given me a date now. But more importantly, we can fix up the inside of the house a little more. Make it yours. I know you have that Pinterest board of things you want to do, hon."
"You…You’re not even supposed to care about that."
She starts to back up the steps and picks up Geppetto, our tabby kitten. The screen door creaks open and she’s standing at the threshold in her sky blue dress, spattered with red flowers…and an apron…perching on her red heels. This is a stupid play, by the way. She knows my affinity for the 60’s housewife look. This dress…it cinches her waist perfectly, and accentuates the abrupt bow of her hourglass figure.
At this moment, I love her and hate her. I also really need to use the bathroom.
"But I do care! You know that."
She backs up and holds the screen door open.
Geppetto’s impatient and hops to the couch as she backs up past it.
"I want you to be the mother you wanted to be."
That was it. We’d been going back and forth for months on kids/no kids. I was always in the middle and she was always pro-gimme-a-baby. We’ve done our fair share of traveling. It’s time…I’m a little drunk, so we’ll do what we can for now, but it’s time.
"Yes, you are."
"No, I’m not. I want you. I want you to be happy. I want to be the one that makes you happy, and if I can’t, well…shit. I want to at least help make you happy. And if you need a little genetic copy of me and you-"
"Fine. Mostly you; then I will help. Because I’m stupid. I’m a little drunk tonight…other nights, too. But every night, I’m in love with you."
"You’re full of shit."
She just bit her lip. Did you see that? She bit her lip and held back a laugh. Am I cheesy, or what? It doesn’t matter. I’m good for it. I’m honest and she sees that. I’d be stupid not to break at the sight of her blue eyes.
She heads to the door behind me and shuts it. Geppetto gets startled again and scampers off to a food bowl or something. She grabs my hand and tugs at my tie.
She leaves it at one word. A kiss on the cheek and leads me on the longest walk of my life down a hallway lasting a grand total of 5 seconds.