One Special Evening

It was a typical summer day in Houston – humid, and so hot that you could fry an egg on the pavement. Sophie silently thanked God that she was in her car, with the AC going full blast and some mellow music playing on the radio. A lock of hair fell forward over her left eye, and as she tucked it behind her ear, the small diamond ring on her ring finger sparkled rather merrily.

She smiled contentedly and thought about her wonderful…and brand new husband. They had been married for all of two months, three weeks, two days…and (her eyes drifted to the dashboard clock) six hours. Thinking of him always made her happy and tingly all over. She loved being married to him and cherished every minute she spent with him. Her thoughts drifted towards home. What would she make for dinner today? She imagined getting home and whipping up a sumptuous three-course meal…she eyed the clock again…okay, 2-course meal. They would sit next to each other in their cozy breakfast nook and catch up with each other’s day, and afterwards they would…

A loud honk interrupted her reverie and she realized that the long line of cars ahead of her was crawling forward. She inched along and tried to sneak a look at the ‘honker’ in her rear view mirror.

“Houston drivers are so rude”, she murmured to herself “and aggressive” she added, as she watched a small sedan cut in front of her without any warning. So much for turn signals.

When she finally pulled into her parking spot in front of their apartment block, she was tired, hungry and eager to take a shower. Mindful of the time and her planned two-course meal, she dashed into the apartment, tripped on something and almost fell flat on her face. Looking around for the offending object, her gaze fell on Benny’s trainers. She smiled indulgently…how like him to leave his shoes lying around, and right in front of the door too! Anyone could trip over them. She put them away in the tiny hall closet and dashed into the room to change and get ready for dinner.

A stale sweaty smell assailed her nostrils…Benny’s gym clothes. She gingerly picked them up with two fingers and put them in the laundry basket.

“Benny…honey, you forgot to put your gym clothes in the basket again”.

“Sorry, babe”, he smiled roguishly “that’s why I have you”.

Unbidden, a flash of irritation went through her. “What? That’s why you have me? To pick up your dirty clothes?”

His eyes narrowed at her tone. “Hey, there’s no need to get worked up. I just meant that you remind me of all the stuff that I’m supposed to do “.

She scowled…now, he was referring to her as hey. “Oh, I remind you of stuff you’re supposed to do? So, in other words, I nag you”.

Here she was, rushing home to fix him dinner (after a hard day’s work, mind you)…a two-course meal, no less - only to almost break her head because he left his stupid shoes in the doorway. And as if that wasn’t enough, his damp, smelly clothes were piled on the bed and now he was calling her a nag. It was too much.

“Sophie, why do you always twist my words? I was just kidding…teasing my wife. Gosh, you take everything so seriously! Besides, you didn’t even say hello to me. You just rushed in here and started harassing me about laundry!”

“So now it’s my fault? You were the one that practically called me a nag! …and I’m not harassing you!”

She’d had enough…not wanting to burst into tears in front of him, she dashed into the bathroom and slammed the door. While she was in there, she decided to take her time and take a long soak in the tub. He can starve to death for all I care.

Forty-five minutes later, dressed and in a calmer frame of mind, Sophie walked into the kitchen and saw Benny eating what looked like leftovers of last night’s spaghetti dinner and studiously avoiding her gaze.

She silently walked past him towards the fridge. Her dreams of a sumptuous two-course meal with her husband crushed, she rummaged for something to eat and wondered how her entire evening went wrong.

Chidi James