“What’s for supper tonight?” His voice seemed to him to be higher pitched than normal. Must be the tension, he thought. He hoped, he really hoped, that she wouldn’t say ‘sandwiches’ again. After last night’s argument and his insistence that she prepares a proper meal, he wouldn’t know how to react if she did.
She had always been a good cook trying out the latest recipes which he would find for her on his computer or read about in the women’s magazines. The family had always enjoyed her tasty and healthy meals together and this had continued for a long time after the kids had left home. But of late, well, take-away pizzas, ready-made lasagna, and sandwiches seemed to be the usual fare. He needed to eat well. He needed a proper diet with protein, salads, green vegetables and fruit. Not a slice of processed cheese on stale supermarket sliced white bread. Goddammit!
And the house was looking a mess. “When had she last changed the bed linen, washed the towels,” he asked himself. The floor was dirty, the kitchen sink a mess. She was becoming lazy. This is not what he expected from her. He liked things to be spic and span. As they had been. He had spoken to her brother about the way things were slipping, but she got to hear about it and gave him an earful.
And she wasn’t taking care of herself. She no longer looked like the babe she had been. He had always enjoyed looking at her. She had known how to ring his bell. But no longer. She hardly bothered with make-up nowadays, she had cut off most of her hair and wore it spiky almost like a man’s, and all she wore were dungarees or grubby t-shirts and jeans. He didn’t know what had happened to all those lovely outfits she used to buy from the best women’s clothing stores on his credit card. She was starting to look like a dog’s breakfast.
He thought that she was probably becoming depressed but when he mentioned this to the doctor, the response was, “Patient confidentiality. Can’t discuss it with you.”
He tried speaking to her, but she would simply give him a look and walk out of the room. It left him sad, angry. Sad-angry. Sad-angry and frustrated. He had tried suggesting she bought some new cooking pots or a new cook’s knife to help inspire her in the kitchen or get a replacement vacuum cleaner to make her life easier. But this would again bring a negative response. So now, most of the time, he just went along with things. Maybe he would meet someone else who would change his world for him. He laughed bitterly to himself. “Fat chance of that.”
She glanced over her shoulder at him. “Got you some spaghetti. It’s warming up. You’ll like it. Heinz.”
“Heinz, eh. Going upmarket, are we? Still, better than a sandwich,” he thought. “Make sure you cut it up well,” he said out loud, thinking about how he had recently almost choked to death on a too large piece of Whopper with Bacon delivered by the local Burger King.
She didn’t turn around, she didn’t bother to reply. She simply leant with her arms on the counter and let them take her weight. “I didn’t sign up for this, I didn’t sign up for this.”
She sat beside him with the warm bowl of pasta. “Cut small enough?” she asked, and started to spoon it into his gaping mouth.
Paralysed from the neck down since the accident! Their eyes briefly met with a world of understanding and then, the moment lost, they both looked away.
“That’s not the lottery I was hoping to win,” she thought.