Time for another free write. This time, the word prompt is complicated.
“Honey, you know I love you. You know I do. But why on Earth did you have to order the IKEA bookshelf?”
I watched my husband turn over the box and look at the picture of the shelf, admiring his decision despite my reprimand. “Honey,” I said again.
“I mean, Betty, just look at the thing.”
“Yes, I see it,” I said, patting him on the back. “It’s a design marvel. So long as you don’t mind putting it together, it’s fine by me. I have paid my time with the IKEA purgatory.”
“Well, you did put off renovating the house forever. Seems to me forever demands more purgatory than you’ve served.” He said it–lighthearted words, a joke, really. But those words had a tone that meant he wasn’t going to do it. He just didn’t want to say it outright. “I have to go to work, sweetie,” he said, like I don’t have to too.
“The car is mine today,” I said.
The tension builds like a bridge about to collapse.
“Call the neighbors,” I said. “They might let you take their car.” They owe us after us letting them keep their food in our fridge for a freaking month while they ordered a new fridge.
“It’s never going to get built,” I said to my coworker, Jane. “And does he think that thing is staying in our house building up dust for ages while he waits for me to build it? Yeah, yeah he does. And he’s never been more wrong.”
“I don’t mean to seem unsupportive here,” Jane said, pouring her coffee, “but it is just a bookshelf.”
“No, no, no. It’s more than that. He thinks he’s the breadwinner. And pay attention to my wording there. The breadwinner. Well, I have news for him. I work just as much as he does.”
“So why doesn’t he acknowledge that?”
“Thinks his work is better.”
I sniffed her coffee. “I’m trying to break myself of the habit,” I said.
“Probably best, but then again, if I really thought so, I wouldn’t be drinking it myself.”
“And who’s to say coffee is a bad addiction?”
“Exactly,” she said, throwing her head back and laughing as we part ways around the cubicle and head to our desks.
I stared at the box drinking my cup of coffee. The door opened. “I thought you were trying to quit?”
“That obviously didn’t last long, did it?”
He threw the mail on the counter, started filing through it. “Here’s one of yours.”
“Who’s it from?”
“Your Aunt Maranda.”
“Oh gosh. What’s she on about this time?”
“Want me to open it?” He said, holding it up.
“No. It’s my mail.”
“Alright,” he said, tossing it my way.
It hit me and I fumbled to catch it, spilling my coffee. “Dang it.”
“Here’s a rag,” he said, throwing the dish towel at me. I spilled more coffee.
“Thanks,” I said through gritted teeth.
Then he walked by me and sat on the couch and turned on his video game without a word. Played some multiplayer shooting game with guys from his work for the rest of the night. I vacated to my room. I read, for what else could I do? Talk to him, I supposed.
“I’m bout to leave a note that says if it’s not done by the end of the week, I’m going to burn it, and gosh darn it I mean it too. I am tired of it taking up room in the hallway. Call me stubborn, but it’s his fault.”
“It is a bit hardheaded of you.”
“Jane, do you support me or not?”
“Your coffee addiction or your stance on the shelf?”
I peered at her. “It’s become harder and harder to like him, you know. I love him, I always have, but he’s changed.”
“Men are simple beasts,” she said.
“That’s rather unlike you.”
“Why do you say so?”
“You’re usually fairer than that.”
“Maybe my life has been more complicated than you know, Betty.”
We sat in silence for a while and finished our sandwiches. We walked back to the office, her letting me have my silence and me letting her have hers. Still. Silence. We got on the elevator.
I couldn’t help but thinking. In that silence. Silence was made for thinking after all. All that thinking left me wondering. “And you think I should just build the bookshelf?”
“I do. I really do,” she said, smiling.
We parted ways at around the cubicles. Sat down to work. Clicked away at the computers. “I think I will do that, Jane.”
“Let me know if you need any help. Those IKEA bookshelves can be insanely Complicated.”
“Hm. Can’t they.” I said it, went back to work, went back to clicking.
Photo Cred: http://designtaxi.com/news/384296/Cute-Illustrations-Show-How-Complicated-Love-Is-Made-Simpler-With-IKEA-Products/