The candles softly glowed in the dark house, reflecting off the china set for two. Katie admired the ambiance she created, dressed in her best dress and high heels.
She looked at the clock on the mantle. “Food will be done soon,” she muttered. “Carl’s supposed to be here.” The young bride tripped into the kitchen, unaccustomed to the heels, and checked the roast.
“It’s not the way it’s supposed to be, Carl Rogers,” she whispered. She spread homemade icing over the newly cooled triple-chocolate-delight cake. “This is when you’re supposed to come in and steal a lick from the bowl and give me a kiss on the cheek.”
Kate emptied the oven and filled the table with her culinary delights, a week’s worth of planning and practicing. As the minutes ticked by, her sweet disposition quickly faded.
She kicked off her shoes and lost the dress, replacing it with old sweat pants and a ratty t-shirt. Katie lay on the floor, her bare feet stuck up in the air, the small television in front of her. She put in the next episode of The Donna Blade Show and lost herself in the perfection of the housewife. “No wonder Carl is late. I’m not good enough for him,” she thought.
Raised in a group home, she had no clue what a wife’s household life was truly like. She ‘schooled’ herself the only way she knew how, with videos, videos she found at her out-dated public library in her small town.
“My hair’s always a mess. I can’t seem to walk in those dang heels, and panty hose give me a rash. I don’t know why Carl ever married me. What was he thinking?” Tears fell as she watched the Dear Doctor gather up his wife into an embrace and kiss her on the lips.
She laid her head down and soon drifted off to sleep. Her dreams were filled with dainty aprons and perfectly coiffed hair.
Carl traipsed into the house, none too quiet. He threw his jacket over a dining room chair and left his shoes in the middle of the floor. “Kate? You here?”
She lifted up onto one elbow and called to her Prince, “In here.”
He lay down beside her, “What’cha watching?”
“Old shows. Why do you love me, Carl? I don’t understand it.”
He moved a wisp of hair out of her eyes. “What? I love you because you’re the most fantastic woman I’ve ever met. Why are you asking?”
“Just look at Donna. She’s perfect. She never sweats when she cleans. She has supper ready every night and it never burns. Have you ever seen what she looks like in the mornings?” Kate sat up and crossed her legs Indian style. “Perfect, that’s how. She’s fully dressed and wide awake. She has breakfast ready for her husband as he walks into the room. How come nothing I do turns out right?”
“It’s not your fault I’m late. I see I ruined your romantic dinner. I’m sorry, Honey, but I’m getting tired of them. I’d be happier eating a sandwich in front of the television with you beside me, sweats and all. Honestly.” He smiled at her.
“Your mom didn’t cook like this all the time? The way she talks, she was the perfect housewife and said she expected the same from me.”
Carl laughed. “No, Mom wasn’t like that. She stuck a frozen pizza in the oven and called it good. We were happy. You know what? It’s time we got cable. We can afford it now. You need to lose the old shows and watch the new ones. They’ll teach you how to be a bit sassy instead of all this sweetness you’ve been laying on me.” He grinned at her.
“You want sassy, Carl Rogers, I’ll give you sassy. You need to go pick up that coat and put your shoes away. I’ve been working all day cleaning this house and look what you do. Just look!”
Carl grinned mischievously. He grabbed hold of her shoulders and brought her down to his level. “You think Donna-What’s-Her-Name ever experienced this from her doctor husband?”
“Oh, Carl!” She grabbed the remote to turn off the television.
“Leave it be, Honey. It’s just the perfect amount of light.”
Katie giggled, “I’ve never seen an episode like this.”
“Honey, we don’t watch those kind of shows. You’re no Donna, that’s for sure. I love you Katie Rogers, just the way you are.”
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