Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Diary of a Desperate Housewife part 2

“Happy VD day!” the Kid yells across the school parking lot.
            I gazed off into the distance, gauging whether or not I had the room to drive off and leave him in the parking lot. Sure, it would cost me a visit from Social Services but at least I’d have a few hours of relative peace in Starbucks before the first social worker arrived. I ignored the other mothers’ dirty looks as they hastily ushered their bundles of innocents into their SUV’s.
            “Listen, Kid. Let’s just stick with the tried and true way of wishing someone a Happy Valentine’s Day. There’re times when acronyms just aren’t the best way to express yourself.”
            “Whatever.” The Kid shrugged and began tearing open his valentines. “Yuck.”
            “What’s up?”
            “Carrie sent me a valentine with a heart on it. It says Love.” He began crumpling it up.
            “Why’re you doing that?” I said.
            “Oops. Wait. It’s okay.” He began straightening it out. “It has candy in it.”
            Another Valentine’s Day was upon us and since I’d received no love from the company that fired me months earlier, I was somewhat jaded to the whole experience. I wasn’t finding any romance in my current position as a stay at home mom and had a feeling I was in for the worst ‘VD’ day in my life.
            In the past, my romantically underachieving husband had been spared any responsibility because, as I was gainfully employed, I found it easier to purchase my own jewelry and perfume. He, in return, wasn’t allowed to complain about the cost so we were able to enjoy, on that day, the traits we originally considered the others character defects. Mine being a spendthrift and his being inherent laziness.
            I was somewhat curious as to how he was going to handle this Valentine’s Day. With no extra money, not only was he going to have to get creative, he was also going to have to do what he disliked the most…make the effort to be romantic.
            He called as soon as we arrived home. The Kid was ensuring a marathon vomiting session by methodically wolfing down the mountains of candy he’d received and I was intentionally refraining from defrosting anything for dinner.
            “What’s for dinner?” he said.
            We’d dispensed with the niceties on or around our second Valentine’s Day.
            “I didn’t plan anything. I thought maybe we’d…well, you know…eat out since it’s a special occasion?” I hinted.
            “Eat out? That’s not in the budget.” At that moment, the rest of my sentence obviously caught up with him. “Special occasion? It’s not your birthday. Is it?”
            I mentally counted to ten before I answered. “What’s the date today?”
            “The fourteenth. It’s not our anniversary. At least I don’t think it is. Is it?” Now he was starting to sound a little nervous.
            “February the fourteenth. Hmmm. Any significance to that date?” I tried one last time.
            “Oh! Oh yeah. Valentine’s Day. Uh…right?”
            “That would be correct. What time should I have the babysitter here?” I said, firmly.
            “Well…I…I guess seven would be good.” He finished lamely.
            “Done. It’s dinner and a movie then?”
            “Uh…yeah. That would be great. I’ve…I’ve got to go. See you at six.” He quickly hung up.
            By seven, our twelve-year-old babysitter arrived and tried to conceal her delight that the Kid had already slipped into a sugar coma.
            “Can I check my email?” Her speech was somewhat muffled due to the wad of gum in her mouth.
            “Yes, but this time stay off my screen name. The last time you were here, I was inundated with IM’s from prepubescent boys wanting to play the Internet version of ‘Spin the Bottle.’ That’s tough to explain to the husband.” I said, spraying myself with a knock off Chanel perfume.
            She mumbled her assent.
            My husband waiting until we were on the interstate and I was unable to do him any physical harm before breaking the news to me. “Well, I tried to get reservations at a couple of restaurants but they were full.”
            “Unable to get a reservation when it’s actually Valentine’s Day? That’s a shocker.” I said, much too calmly for his liking.
            He shifted uncomfortably but pressed on. “So, I thought we’d go somewhere we could have steak and seafood and all the stuff you like.”
            “Really?” I said, brightening noticeably. “That sounds great!”
            He smiled, relived. “See? I’m not that bad!”
            “Not at all.” I patted his hand. “Why’re we pulling in here?” I said, looking around in confusion.
            “The restaurant’s here.” He said, pointing.
            It was Golden Corral.

            As I made my second trip to the dessert bar, I considered the best way to exhibit my displeasure. I was deep in thought when my husband, on his second helping of fried shrimp and mashed potatoes, said, “Have you thought about what movie you’d like to rent?”
            I slurped my chocolate pudding and gave him a winning smile. “Rent?” Now we’re renting a movie?”
            “Yeah! We can like do that thing you always want to do when we have our dates.”
            “What…sleep?” I said.
            “No! Like snuggling on the couch and stuff!” he said, then stuffed a huge slab of meatloaf into his mouth to keep from talking again.
“Sounds lovely. And I’ve been thinking about what to rent. Lots of choices since we haven’t gone to a movie in over a decade, but I’ve got it!”
            He swallowed the chunk of meat in record time. “Great! What’s it about?”
            “Well, I thought we’d rent one that we’d both enjoy. Action for you, love story for me.”
            “Sounds good. War movie?”
            “No, it’s actually sort of an Old West kind of movie.”
            “I love cowboy movies! That old rough riding kind of movie.” he said, enthusiastically.
            “You’ll have plenty of that to look forward to.” I smiled.
            “What’s the name of it?”
            I stood and took his hand. “Brokeback Mountain.”

            Another Valentine’s Day had passed and although it had disappointed me in several areas, I reminded myself that love isn’t all about jewelry or dinners at expensive restaurants. Valentine’s Day was the one time a year we remembered why we made the commitments to that special person in the first place. I turned off the bedroom lamp and reached over to kiss the cheek of my special man that, unfortunately, was still curled up in a fetal position.
            “I love you.” I whispered.
            “I think I need therapy.” He whimpered.
            Ah. Love.


  1. Thank -you Carmen ! I had been feeling absolutely miserable and this had me in stitches!

  2. Carmen, this is a wonderful story! Love it!