My husband is looking after me. This is not a new thing, he’s nice like that – that’s one of the reasons I married him. That and the fact that he came for Christmas one year and literally wouldn’t go away – six kids later I figured I was stuck with him.
We were sat, well I lay down, the blue surgical stockings slightly shattering my self-image that I looked alluring and pale in a Marlene Dietrich kinda way. So, we’re sat and my husband declares that after nearly 30 years together he had something to say. Hubby was serious, perched on the edge of the bed as I waited.
Were we finally getting divorced?
Did he have a secret identity/family/love of Meatloaf (the band not the dinner)
Had he finally realised that Christmas is only one day, well a few days, well let’s say a week?
‘It’s about the dishwasher’, he says looking down at his hands. ‘I think we need a new cutlery draw.’
‘Ok,’ I sigh thinking this is going to be like the great revelation of 2008 when he phoned me at work saying he had something amazing to tell me and then hung up. I rushed home all bated breath and giddy with dreams of surprise holidays and chocolates and he told me he’d discovered the meat van was going to be in the pub carpark on Saturday morning and we could take a look.
Back to the cutlery tray.
‘The thing is,’ he says, sipping his tea gravely, ‘when we met. (long dramatic pause). ‘When we met, I realised you put the cutlery into the cutlery tray the wrong way.-’
I bite my tongue, my knuckles blanching. Unable to actually sit up unaided. I’m assessing if I have the energy to throw something at him.
‘And you said,’ he continues, ‘that you’d compromise and put the knives in the right way, and you don’t and that’s why we need a new cutlery tray.’
I should point out that I’m in my sick bed so you can see just how brutal my husband is – bringing up a 27-year-old row when I am in a weakened state.
I should also point out that I DO NOT put the cutlery in the drainer the wrong way – he is insane. He wants everything in the drainer, handles up because he is incapable of taking out a fork without stabbing himself – madness, I know. And the reason we need a new cutlery tray in the dishwasher is not because of my fork-loading technique, which is faultless, but more to do with the fact that the dishwasher is nearly 20 years old.
As to agreeing to some kind of compromise – has he ever met me? Does he not know how utterly ridiculous that is? And why would I when that would mean putting the knives in the wrong way?
I mean for god’s sake, hold on to the issue why don’t you?
I could handle this two ways – I could attempt to reach random cutlery, stored neatly (handles down) by the side of the bed for this very purpose and stab him with a teaspoon. I could explain the folly of his ways and why my way is more hygienic, and I don’t know – normal- but we both know that’s a rabbit hole we will never escape from.
Instead, I do my best Marlene Dietrich impression and let my head fall back against the pillow, ignoring for a moment the wobble of my chins.
‘I will try,’ I sigh bravely.
He smiles. He is so easily pleased.
And such a sucker.
Just wait till I can fetch the Hotel Chocolate Hamper I bought him for Valentine’s and then see who puts the knives in wrong.
No point making a fuss until then and anyway we’ve another 27 years for the row to go on.