© KLarson 2019
Maybe that’s what happens, she thought. As we get older, the longer we’re together, the more we find to dislike about one another.
She was busy, or rather, she was trying to be. There really wasn’t that much to do. Now that they’d down-sized. She snorted inwardly at that — “down-sizing” — the new in thing to do when you retired. All of their friends had done it — some all the way to Mexico, Belize or the Caymans. Those were the truly successful down-sizers. Everyone else, she and Dan included, had simply traded down and stayed local.
The reasons were numerous and all legitimate. Lower living expenses, no stairs (so much easier on the joints), less cleaning, minimal yard work, no snow shoveling, zero maintenance and close proximity to shopping, transit and hospitals. It all sounded so reasonable and smart, so mature and well-considered.
The truth was that it was boring. Dull and boring. Of course, it hadn’t been, not at first. When they had first started considering the idea of selling the house it had been exciting. A new start. Purging 40 plus years of accumulated stuff to make way for new stuff.
It was only when she got to the boxes of old school reports, handmade cards and favourite books and items of clothes she’d saved for each of the kids that it hit her. They were ridding themselves of their life. The one they’d worked at building for over 40 years together.
But she couldn’t say anything.
Because down-sizing had been her idea. Dan had resisted from the beginning, and he’d had plenty of good arguments for staying in their house — their home — not least among them the history that their place embodied.
It had taken a lot of persuasion, arguments, enlisting the help of friends and family, even the kids, to get him on board. When he finally agreed that it made sense to move into something smaller, something they could just lock the door on and walk away from when they wanted to travel for more than 2 weeks at a time, something situated right next door to a golf course, well, there was no turning back then.
Be careful what you wish for, her mother had always said.
. . .
Dan came through the door on cue at 5:30. She forced herself to smile.
“Supper in five,” she said, as she reached to take their plates out of the cupboard.
” ‘kay. I’m just going to jump in the shower,” He hung his keys on the hook by the door, dropped the day’s mail on the hall table and headed to their room with barely a glance in her direction.
When he came down nearly 20 minutes later she was finishing the last few bites on her plate.
“You didn’t wait?” Dan looked at her coldly.
“I told you in five,” she said, picking up her wine glass.
“Yeah, I guess you did.” He lifted the cover off the plate she’d made up for him. “What is this?” He sounded slightly disgusted at the sight of the food on his plate.
“It’s spaghetti squash with vegan chili. And gluten-free corn bread.” She took a sip of wine to hide the smirk forming on her lips. Dan scowled, grunted and continued to stare disdainfully at his plate.
Inwardly, Leslie was daring him to make a remark. The whole time she’d been preparing the meal she’d been anticipating his reaction. She knew he’d hate it. Dan was a meat and potatoes man. Had been his whole life. Once upon a time he’d been open to trying something new or different, but since turning 60 he’d made it clear that his days of adventurous eating were over.
So, every so often she treated him to something special. Like tonight.
“Can you get me a beer?” he said looking at her with thinly disguised anger.
“Excuse me?” she said with raise brows.
“Please. For Christ’s sake. Get me a beer.”
“Love to,” she answered cheerily.
Leslie stayed at the table, nursing her wine the whole while he ate. When he was done, he looked up at her and with a smile, said, “That wasn’t half bad. Tasty.”
Leslie tipped her wine glass at him. “Thanks.”
They’d cleaned up the dinner dishes and tidied the kitchen. Aside from a few questions and answers about each others day they barely spoke. She was heading into the bedroom to brush her teeth when when saw him pick up his phone. Tight-lipped she listened as she heard him order two pounds of wings from Jerry’s around the corner.
“Yeah, buffalo and some honey garlic. Twenty minutes? No problem.” As he hung up he looked at her and smiled.
. . .