Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Green-Eyed Monster

     After being married to The Yankee since shortly before the invention of electricity, I’ve learned quite a bit about his mannerisms and what they mean.  Looking to one side as he inhales deeply means he thinks something or someone is stupid.  Slower blinking while his mouth is set in a crooked line means he is being stubborn.  And rocking his chair back on two legs while he drums his fingers means he has something to tell me if can summon the nerve.  This is precisely what I saw at supper one night last week.  We were finishing our meal and I could see his chair slowly rocking backwards as his fingers drummed.  My heart sank a little as I imagined what news he was dreading telling me.  Had he lost his job?  Had he found a problem with the car that would cost thousands to repair?  What was it?  The suspense was killing me, but I’ve learned not to press the issue.   

      “Umm, I had this weird thing happen yesterday,” he began slowly.  “Oh really?” I said, trying not to sound anxious.  “Yeah, umm, one of my clients introduced me to his daughter.”  I paused for a moment, carefully measuring what I should say next.  “Why is that weird?”  He swallowed his drink before he continued, “Well, she kept smiling at me and trying to sit next to me, and she touched my arm a few times.”  I was confused by all this but I let him finish.  “Then my client left the room for a few minutes and his daughter asked me if I was married.”

     Ahh HA!  Now we get to the juicy part.

      “I told her yes and hoped she would just leave it at that, but she went on.”  I sat in silence as I pictured this woman, sidled up to my husband, her blonde hair ever so slightly covering one eye a la Veronica Lake, her slender, manicured fingernails “accidently” touching his masculine arms, her perfectly tanned legs peeking out from a size 0 pencil skirt.  I must confess, the mental picture was unnerving.  My heart was pounding but I remained mute as he told me his story.  “She couldn’t just take the fact that I was married and forget about it.  She had to ask me if it was a happy marriage.”  I do not consider myself the jealous type, but this was too far!  “The nerve!” I gasped.  “What did you say?”  “I said ’VERY’ and took a gentle step backwards.”  I’ve never been so proud of The Yankee in my life.  He continued his thought, “She stuck her lower lip out in a pout and said, ’Well, if it’s ever not happy, call me.’  It made me so uncomfortable.”  Shocked by my own jealousy and concerned for his discomfort, I tried to put him at ease.  “What did she look like?”  He slowly inhaled, “She’s short, about 45 years old with frizzy, dyed-red hair.”

      This did not fit my mental picture of Veronica Lake at all.

      He continued, “She weighed about 400 pounds, but it was mostly in her rear end so when she sat down, she was actually taller than me.”  I was so stunned, I couldn’t move.  “Umm, and, uh,” I could barely speak, “This was the woman who was asking you if your marriage was happy?”  He nodded, “Yeah, I felt bad for her.  I mean, she seemed lonely especially after she told me the state had taken away most of her 47 cats.”  My hand flew to my mouth as I stifled a snorting laugh.  Thankfully, The Yankee didn’t notice.  “She had on this sweatshirt with a picture of one of her cats she called Fluff-Fluff.  He was ugly but I didn’t tell her that.  I was too busy wondering how someone can get blackish-orangey flaky nail fungus on all ten toes and then wear flip-flops that are a size too small so her toes hang over the ends of the shoes.” 

      I couldn’t hold it anymore.  I laughed until I nearly threw up.

      “Well I’m glad you find my misery so hilarious, Bertha.”  Through my tearing eyes, aching ribs, and convulsing shakes I squeaked, “But I do!  The Yankee was not happy.  “I can’t believe you’re laughing at me!  She smelled like an ash tray!  That woman freaked me out, especially when she told me that I had ‘cute little ears’ just like her kitty named Mr. Pickle-Meyer that the state took away to the shelter.”  I laid on the dining room table, tears flowing into the scraps of my dinner plate, as I writhed in laughter and hoped I didn’t wet my pants.  By this time, The Yankee stands up, throws his napkin on the table and marches to the kitchen.  “I don’t have to take this, Bertha!  I thought you’d be supportive, but this is too much!  I’m going to work in the garage.”  I wiped at my eyes and tried to stop snorting as I called out to him, “But, but, Mr. Pickle-Meyer!  Don’t you want to stay and tell me more about Veronica?”  He poked his head back into the dining room as I struggled to stand up without my knees buckling in more hysterical shrieking.  “Her name is Fanny-Faye Snerdly, thank you very much.”  Well, there went my knees. 

      It’s going to be a while before I stop calling him “Mr. Pickle-Meyer”.   

© Bertha Grizzly 2011.  All Rights Reserved.  No duplication or distribution.

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