[Originally published December 8, 2011.]
The playgroup was engaged with squeaky toys in the living room. He caught her languidly peanut-buttering slices of organic stone-ground whole-wheat bread in the kitchen for snack time and said, “Why do you insist on buying organic bread? We hardly know these people.”
“I thought your parents were babysitting the kids this Saturday night.”
“I thought yours were.”
“Well, they’re not. They’re going to a movie theater to watch a Met Opera simulcast.”
Their eyes met across a landscape of wooden blocks and small cars and plastic dinosaurs that really hurt if you stepped on them at night while getting a child a sippy cup of water. He searched her face for exhaustion, and found it.
Awaiting his return from Costco with the muffins for the bake sale, she picked up the magazine with an article about interior decorating for small spaces, and immediately felt better.
While Elijah was off playing at a friend’s house, he trimmed the shrubs and she mulched the flowerbeds. Later, over glasses of wine, they agreed: It had been really fun.
They fell asleep and missed the last 15 minutes of The Good Wife.
She looked up at him with a question in her eyes. “Did you get the graham crackers?”
“Yes,” he answered.
She moved toward him in her old slippers. He thought they looked like rabbits.
“The cinnamon kind or the plain kind?” she asked.
“The cinnamon kind.”
“Crap,” she said, “that’s the wrong kind.”
“I’m in the tub!” she cried out, throwing a Pink-Giggle-scented Kidz Fun-Size bubble bath bottle at the door. “Can’t I ever get any privacy?”
He knocked again and with sotto voce said, “I really need to take a dump, hon.”
Moments later she came out of the bathroom wet, angry, and with her underwear on backwards.