The chocolate kind. Not the ninja or other live kind, those ones are fine.
I bought my husband a heart-shaped box of Turtles yesterday. There was slim pickings by the time I got to the store and feeling guilty about my procrastination I picked the Turtles because they came in the biggest box. Having not eaten one in years, I forgot they had pecans. Okay, fine, you caught me. I knew they had pecans, what I forgot was that my husband is allergic to them.
Before you go thinking I am a terrible wife, I also made him a candlelit dinner wearing something that – let’s just say it was a little more revealing than the sweatpants and tee-shirt I usually greet him in. It may have had a garter, unless I hooked things up wrong which is a distinct possibility.
I was feeling a little annoyed, and cold, when my husband called to tell me he was going to be delayed at work but I remained determined over the ensuing hour and a half it took him to get home to salvage my rare attempt at romance. When I wished him a happy Valentine’s Day with a hug and the chocolates he immediately stiffened. His neck, people! His neck stiffened. Honestly, my goodness! The point is, I could tell something was wrong. I sucked in my stomach a little bit more.
“I can’t eat the chocolates,” he said sounding slightly panicked. “I’m allergic to the pecans. I can’t eat them.”
I felt bad about my error but the pasta sauce, which I made from scratch, started to burn so I ushered him to the table. As I tried to engage my husband in conversation however, asking him about his day and telling him about mine, he seemed distant and distracted. I thought that perhaps my exposed legs were ruining his appetite and tried to artfully cross them, one over the other, to improve the shape of my thighs. Despite my rearrangement he still sat with a furrowed brow and obvious distress.
“What’s wrong?” I asked, wondering if I should have bought this getup in a medium or if I should have also made the pasta myself.
My husband loosened his collar and shifted uncomfortably. He was about to speak but stopped, staring out the window to the house across the street where our friends Joel and Ayelet live.
He finally turned to face me. “Tell me honestly, do you think Joel will trade chocolates with me?” he asked.
It was difficult to read his expression in the candlelight but having determined that he had asked this question in all seriousness I insisted that he finish his meal. Did I mention that I made the sauce!? From scratch!? Despite his attempts to eat, however, my husband remained ill at ease and reasoned with me that he should really get in touch with Joel quickly in case Joel had finished dinner first and ate all his chocolates before they could talk.
“Well I wouldn’t want your window to close,” I said standing in my underwear, with what I thought was obvious sarcasm.
My husband leapt from the table, grabbing his phone.
“Joel got Ferreros!” he called down the hall, lacing up his shoes.
“Those are more expensive than Turtles though,” I joked, “what are you going to do?”
“I know, I know,” he said looking concerned, “We’ll have to work out some kind of system.”
I had tried so hard. I have never been the lovey-dovey, idealistic type. Valuing emotional substance over form, I have never been impressed by exaggerated expressions of love. Recently though, I had started to worry that it is important to at least show my loved ones a small expression of my feelings as some concrete evidence of the way I feel inside. I didn’t want my tendency to roll my eyes at mushy things or my propensity to bottle up affection to prevent those around me from feeling really, truly loved.
And that’s how I came to have my tush hanging out in our drafty kitchen, my hair falling out of the bobby pins that took me forever to wedge in, while my thirty year old husband drafted chocolates from his best friend across the street like he used to baseball cards.
I couldn’t believe this. I was just so, so, relieved!
I rushed upstairs, unhooked all the hooks, unlaced all the ribbons, and slipped into my coziest flannel pajamas. After half an hour my husband reemerged.
“I got one Ferrero for every four Turtles!” he said. I congratulated him.
Sitting on the couch, with the cat and dog between us, we each took a bite of the crunchy, hazelnut chocolate. I have to admit, they were way better than the Turtles.