Domesticity

If she said, “If you loved me, you would
know what I need,” once, she said it a
gazillion times, to which he would say,
“I do love you and want to do whatever

you need because I love you, but I’m not
God and so you have to tell me what you
need,” to which years later, she would
say, “You think you know me, but you don’t

know me, really know me,” with this air
of self-satisfaction inferring that she,
obviously, was way too mysterious and
complex for simple, old him to know and

understand, to which he would say, simply,
“Okay,” and then she would say, “I never
ever want to be thought of as common. I
am anything but common. I am un-common,

unique,” to which he would say, “That you
are.” And in hind-sight he wishes that he
had responded as calmly as he reported,
but, of course, didn’t — leading to a ga-

zillion unnecessary arguments in varying
degrees of intensity and volume which is
what led one of their kids to quip sar-
castically and rhetorically and not a

little meanly, “We look pretty good to
the outside world don’t we, in spite of
the way it really is?” To which, he had
nothing to say as he cringed inside, the

shame rising. All that took place years
ago, years after his wife had died and so
he discovered it would take many of those
years to come to a separate peace, self-

forgiveness and the acknowledgment that
he did love her however imperfectly and
that he did know her a bit more than she
gave him credit for knowing but that he

didn’t know himself well enough and was
too insecure to offer her the fruits of
the spirit — peace, patience, kindness,
and self-control along with a dozen
red roses for starters.

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