Why I Like to Screw with My Husband

Originally published in Feminine Collective: Raw & Unfiltered: Vol 1. Anthology; Read at BlogHer 2016 Open Mic.

It wasn’t different than any other night. Me finally sitting on the couch to watch some mindless TV instead of writing. My husband distracting me, yelling trivial things from the other room. Tonight I’d resigned myself to watching TV because I couldn’t find any of my good pens to write with. It didn’t matter how many pens I bought the ones left were always the shitty ones. I’ve bought moleskin pens, cross pens, even a Mont Blanc pens. I write better with good pens. I am a better writer with a good pen. I hate the way I write with a shitty pen. I hate that something as simple as a writing utensil had such an effect, but it did.

There’s nothing worse than buying expensive pens and having them swiped by your 12-year-old so he can trade them for candy at school. Yes. You heard correctly. My son actually trades my pens for candy. I want him to be an entrepreneur but not at the expense of my pens.

“Where’s my toothbrush?” My husband yelled from the other room.

My husband is always losing his shit. I think the kids plot ways to mess with him. To rock his world in a bad way. Sometimes, I think my husband’s brain froze about a decade ago. Or maybe it just on ice since the kids were born. Maybe it will thaw once the kids grow up and move out. My oldest was almost four (he’s thirteen now) the first time my husband had his lapse of reasoning, when his existence shattered into a zillion microscopic soldiers lashing out, attacking life as he knew it. It was the second I uttered the inexplicable Baby A / Baby B, as I pointed to the 8-week ultrasound photo, AKA TWINS! My exclamation confirmed his worst nightmare. Can you believe it? I remember saying. What a shock? Right? He couldn’t process it. I laughed saying I warned you, remember? It’s in the family. I was thrilled. I’d get my three children. What I wanted. But, he wouldn’t get what he wanted, which was peace.

“How should I know where your toothbrush is?” I yelled back.

I felt like Kathleen Turner in War of the Roses. The contempt racing through my veins. I tried to hold back but sometimes the sheer momentum of my anger was too much to contain.

“I didn’t touch your toothbrush!”

Or did I? I have to admit, sometimes I fucked with my husband. I did it to keep him on his toes, awake. It was entertaining. Or maybe it was payback for whatever he didn’t do on my never-ending list of things to do? I don’t know why I do a lot of things. Sometimes I don’t know why I even speak. I should shut my mouth. I’m sure he’d agree.

“I can’t believe this. This is why I keep my stuff in a travel kit. I can’t have anything.” He ranted, carrying on about his lot in life.

The violinists in my head lifted their bows, drowned him out. He keeps his bathroom shit in a travel kit, but he never goes anywhere. Can you believe that?

Sixteen years and his toothbrush, toothpaste, and deodorant are still in a travel kit. He thinks that’s normal. One might say he is just visiting our home, a traveler passing through.

He lived in a hotel when we met. He traveled all the time. Not anymore. Now he’s fucking grounded, his choice. A fish out of water. A dog without a bone. A hamster without a wheel. A man without a country.

“Look in the cabinet,” I said.

I could get off the couch, I thought. I could help him look for it. I could. But, I ddn’t. I just sat there, legs outstretched, drinking red wine, Top Gear paused, waiting to hear the results of his toothbrush search. Top Gear is one of my favorite shows. I love BRITS. They are witty fuckers. In all their bombastic, sarcastic, carefree, dogmatic, contradictory glory. And then there’s ME, the American female. Plodding forward, brain fried by bullshit, trying to remain detached, grasping for straws, repugnant, poised for attack, visualizing another existence. ME.

“Found it!” He yelled.

“YEP.”

I knew he would. Eventually. I stared at the paused TV screen wishing I could transport myself into Top Gear. Wishing I had been a race car driver. Wishing I could dart away at the speed of sound. But where would I go? My children need me. My husband needs me. My cat needs me. No, I won’t be going anywhere for a while.

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