Monday, November 1, 2010
Let me preface this by saying that I love my husband. I really, really do. He's big, friendly chap who laughs a lot and is generally both a gentleman and a scholar. That notwithstanding, he occasionally careens close to death without even knowing it.
Take last Friday, for example: I was heading to Munich straight after work. I didn't have much time between getting home and leaving the house again, so I was twirling like a dervish, gathering up papers and folders and memory sticks and pyjamas and toothbrush. Seeing my distress, Mr Gingerbread decided to "help" by making me a cup of tea - but his idea of helping is to direct my attention to his solicitiousness by engaging me in a no-win game of Twenty Questions:
"Would you like a cup of tea, my little gingerbread sweetheart?" he says, as I rush by, trailing a pair of tights and an armful of books.
"No thanks, honeybunch," I reply.
"Are you sure? I can make you one if you like."
"No, no thanks, really."
"Are you sure? Really? Because it's no trouble."
"No, honestly, I don't have time for a cup of tea."
"I could make you one and just put it down beside you."
"No, seriously, no, I don't have time. I have to leave in five minutes."
"In five minutes? When does your train leave?"
(note that I've told him about four times in the past 24 hours when my train leaves. Seriously.)
"At 12:15. It's ten to twelve now. I don't have time, thanks."
"No time for tea, then?"
"No - look, I'm too stressed for tea."
"Right. That's a 'no' to tea?"
"What? So you do want tea?"
"No!" I snap.
Miffed, he withdraws. Then sticks his head back through the door:
"How about a coffee? A quick cup of coffee?"
"Okay. No tea. No coffee ... Juice?"
White-knuckled, I turn to him and hiss, "I! Don't! Have! Time! For! Beverages!"
And he turns his huge, bright blue eyes on me and looks hurt. I instantly feel like a piece of poo. So I apologise profusely for being an Evil Gingerbread Lady. He gives me a hug, then holds me at arm's length, looks me deep in the eyes and says, completely earnestly:
"So you really don't want a cup of tea, then?"
But here's something I learned the hard way:
Mr Gingerbread snores like a tractor. It's a deep, vibrating snore that makes the entire bed shake. I've developed a way of turning his not-inconsiderable bulk over in bed so that I don't even wake him: first a poke in the ribs, then a swift roll over on to his side. I often used to lie in bed in the middle of the night, listening to his nasal trumpeting, wondering whether marriage vows prohibit pushing a snoring spouse out of bed at 4:13 a.m. Then last Christmas he ended up in hospital with a pulmonary embolism and a nasty bout of pneumonia. I lay in a silent bed in a silent bedroom - and guess what? I really missed his array of nocturnal grunts and snores, the cacophonous build-up to the final snort before starting again with a contented little wheeze. And as I lay there in the deep darkness, I realised that I loved his snoring. All things considered, I really did. So if he decides that the most appropriate way to demonstrate his love for me in situations of high stress is to follow me around with a teapot, I really should appreciate it, because a day might come when I'll regret all the cups that went undrunk.
PS: When I returned from Munich on Sunday night, he met me at the door with open arms.
And a cup of tea.
Posted by The Gingerbread Lady at 10:56 PM