Peter had just gotten out of bed when Bill arrived for their Wednesday morning nursing home outing with Nobby. Never one to be rushed, especially not in the morning, Peter sipped his coffee, nibbled at his toast, and wiped (and wiped and wiped) the kitchen countertop.
He will not be dissuaded from that task once he starts. Bill and I smiled at each other.
“‘Mrs. Clarke,'” I said, “are you about finished?”
Bill chuckled. “He’s a good little ‘housewife,’ isn’t he?”
Peter, his back to us, never missed a beat. “Well someone has to do it, don’t they?” He turned slightly to aim a dagger-like look in my direction. Bill chortled and slapped his knee.
If I hadn’t needed the laugh, any laugh at all, I would’ve been upset by what my husband implied. Humph, as if I wasn’t the one he’d tried to convince not to bother about keeping the house clean and tidy all these years.
* * *
Lunchtime at a favorite restaurant the same Wednesday. Peter tried his well worn joke on our waitress, a sweet young lady who’d been working at the Blue Apron for just a week. When she asked how our our meals were, he said, “Oh, terrible.”
“Oh, you’re a tease, aren’t you?” She caught on quickly. His face turned red as he laughed. I rolled my eyes at her and shook my head as if to say, “I can’t do anything with him.
Later, a waiter asked the same question. Peter took a deep breath and said loudly, forcefully, “Terrible, just terrible.” He even frowned.
The young man howled. “Y’know, my fiance told me she didn’t know how she’d be able to deal with me when I’m old and gray, because I’m just like you. I love to tease and laugh. I want to be just like you when I’m your age.”
I rolled my eyes again, but I couldn’t help but laugh.
* * *
Later that afternoon, completely tuckered out from shopping for a refrigerator, I put my arms around my husband, and lay my head on his shoulder. “I need a hug,” I said.
He’d been staring at a kitchen cupboard as he does when he’s trying to remember what he was looking for. He shrugged my arms off and said, “And I need some bread.”
That laugh wasn’t as good as a hug, but it helped nonetheless..