Have you ever enjoyed someone else’s mistake for too long, and then tasted the bitterness of its flatness, and enjoyed it?
The second day of laughing at my husband’s interpretation of what I had asked him to do seemed to be pushing the limits of decency.
“Mix them all together?” he had asked me three times with a baffled tone. “Mix ‘em together?”
“Yes.” I replied.
Earlier that day, I had planned the perfect dinner and evening drink, fillet mignon and expensive juice. For added pizzazz, I bought club soda. It’s clear that the meat would be the showcase for my husband, but for me, I awaited the time when I would feel delicate bubbles of an originally mixed concoction dancing on my tongue and into my belly.
A few minutes before the big feast, I made a classic beginner mistake—grabbed the handle of the fry pan that had just emerged from a 450 degree oven. As I ripped my grasp from the handle, I left the top layer of skin behind.
“I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.” I muttered through the pain, with my husband in the next room looking up how to treat a burn on the internet, and telling me to stop apologizing. I ran my hand under cool water, and watched blisters begin to form on the tips of all of my fingers and the palm of my hand.
“Is it blistering?” he asked.
“Yeah. I definitely see blisters.”
“It’s a second degree burn.”
With running water numbing the sting I kept thinking about all the burn victims I had ever seen in person or television, how I’ve never comprehended their pain, not even now in my own second degree discomfort. I felt selfish to have paid more attention to anything other than their wrenching pain.
Finally the 15 minutes of cool water was over, and I had to pry myself away from the sink. The instant the water stopped pain shot through my fingers and ignited my palm. It was as if I was burning it again, but worse. Was the air burning it? “I went through child birth,” I encouraged myself, “I can handle this.”
With a furrowed brow, I sat down, holding my hand up like a trophy. As I grew used to my unavailable grasp (as if I had hoofs), I considered trying to get up and make the drink I had been waiting for, but noticed the willingness of husband at my side.
“Mix them all together?” he asked.
“Yes.” I encouraged.
He entered the room triumphantly with stemware in his hand. “What a brilliant guy,” I thought. The tolerable mix he created sloppily pirouetted upon my tongue, and fumbled a sashay into my belly. And I was grateful. But I anticipated getting the chance to make my own combination.
With much less pain the next day, I went searching for the juices. I found an empty bottle on the counter, and was immediately stunned. “Who drank this?” I thought. And then I found the other empty bottle? “What?” I opened the fridge; there sat two full pitchers of juice mixed exactly as I had tasted the night before. I busted out laughing, in utter surprise. “Who would have thought to mix all of it?” I was elated by the confusion that had taken place.
My husband was bashful about the mix-up. “It’s fine.” I reassured. “I’ll just give it to Henry (our 1 year old).”
“You can’t.” he admitted, “because of the fizz.” I again rolled into laughter.
“You put the club soda in there too?”
We’ve been drinking the juice for two weeks now, and today is likely the last day for any fizz. The flavor of the club soda will continue, a dull, sour saltiness. But that flavor tastes like love. It tastes like my husband’s willingness to jump into something that sounds totally foreign to him, with the gumption: I’m doing it for my wife. Sometimes we get flat results, but always laughter.
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