Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: ANNOYED (04/05/18)
TITLE: My Lovely Husband
By Robin West
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If we don’t leave soon, it’ll be too late to complete our errands. The flannel-clad bear lounging in the recliner knows that, yet he still hasn’t showered.
“That book will still be here later,” I say.
He pulls his nose from his paperback and says, “We have plenty of time; we only need a few groceries.”
“We need a lot of groceries, plus annuals from the nursery, and don’t forget your grandson’s swing set.”
He plucks his glasses off and sighs. “Okay, just let me finish this chapter.” He gives me a soft smile.
We’ve been through this more Saturdays than I can remember. I’m helpless. He won’t be ready for at least an hour—more likely two. I traipse to the laundry room just off the kitchen and transfer his work clothes from the washer to the dryer, closing the dryer door harder than necessary. I shove the sheets into the front loader and punch ‘Hot’ to match my annoyance with the man I married.
He always does this. We make plans during the week. I carefully set up the timeline—he has no concept of time—and he agrees to my plans. But come Saturday, he’s a lump in the recliner reading some testosterone-filled spy thriller.
Since we’ll come home too late to cook, I’ll throw something in the crockpot now.
Standing in front of the open freezer, I yank out a frozen boulder labeled Pork Loin and plop it in the microwave. While it’s defrosting, I search the refrigerator and pantry for barbecue sauce. Wait. I watched him slop it on grilled ribs last Sunday. That bottle held enough sauce for at least two recipes, but he used it all at once. Honestly, I can’t plan anything. Instead, I grab various condiments from the refrigerator door and throw together a patchwork marinade.
One hour later, the crock is potting, dishwasher humming, kitchen gleaming.
The daffodil bouquet he gave me looks limp and it’s dropping pollen on the breakfast bar. I dump them and wash the vase in the kitchen sink.
Through the walls, I hear the shower start. About time.
While shoving the soapy sponge down the vase’s throat, I stare through the window at green grass and gray sky. Dandelions dot the shaggy lawn. Maybe somewhere through that window I’ll find a way to salvage today’s plan.
Note: Grocery shopping will take one hour; add loading and travel time, 90 minutes.
Note: Selecting bedding plants at the nursery, add loading and travel time, another 90 minutes.
Note: He says it takes 30 minutes to assemble the swing set. It’ll take three hours.
I check the time on the stove clock then return my gaze to the window. We’ll be unpacking groceries and flowers at midnight.
One bead of water appears on the window glass, then another, followed by a spatter of rain. I exhale an exasperated breath and mentally cross the swing set off the list. By the time that swing is operating, our grandson will be in college.
Grabbing the duster, I head for the living room.
While I collect his pens, papers, remotes, clippers and reading glasses, the shower goes silent. He was in there long enough to wash six circus elephants. I hear the toothbrush buzz, toss his collection into the basket by his chair, and finish dusting.
Once I’ve put the duster away and fluffed the couch pillows, the bathroom door opens, releasing a cloud of steam and my half-naked husband with pink skin and wet hair.
“Babe,” he says. “Do we really have to do this today?”
“Honey, you said you would.”
“I know, but I had a tough week at work.” His eyes plead with me.
I squeeze my lips and clench my jaw to keep from saying something I’ll regret.
He groans. “There you go, getting tight-lipped on me.” He snaps the towel from around his neck and tosses it behind him onto the bathroom floor. “If it’s that important, I’ll go.”
He slumps into the bedroom and shuts the door.
My stiff jaws go slack. I stare at the closed door between us. He hasn’t closed the bedroom door since the kids moved out.
Why is he so annoyed?
“Whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” (Philippians 4:8)
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