‘I’ve run out of eggs!’ The husband was visibly agitated. Red lights flashed. Sirens wailed.
For the husband likes his eggs. That’s to put it mildly. The more exciting version would run thus: if the flat were burning down, the husband would run out with his eggs. I have had more than three decades to learn my station in life. And it’s definitely lower than eggs.
I bent my head to the task at hand. My task. Joining my Swansea Bay blanket. Or at least Swansea Bay if I could see it now, Swansea having fallen prey to varying forms of precipitation all through the new year.
The dots connected for the husband. ‘I’ll go get them then,’ he said, resignation dripping off every word.
I twitched back to attention. ‘I’ll make you a grocery list.’ The resignation drip became a shower. Close competition with the world outside.
I began scribbling a hurried list. Then checked myself into a slower, more laborious pace of writing. The last time I had entrusted a grocery list to the husband, he’d come back without half the things on it. ‘Oh, is that what that scribble was?’
Stuff and nonsense, of course. True my handwriting is not what it used to be, thanks to everything being typed these days, but it is still better than the son’s chicken scratches. And the husband can read that.
There’s also the small issue of optimal quantities. Cooking doesn’t come easy to me. So when I cook, I like to make sure the freezer is as well stocked as our tummies. Whereas the husband, let’s just say he genuinely believes seven loaves and five fish can feed a multitude. And then wonders at the empty feeling in his middle region.
The truth of the matter is that the husband is a one bag shopper. When the bag is full, he stops shopping. Only eggs might break that barrier. But then, they’re usually the first to enter the bag.
The husband took one look at the list and shuddered. ‘This is going to be a full shop then?’
I took pity. ‘Weekly shop?’ I said, gently rubbing his arm. He disappeared into his man cave. Some minutes later, I heard the plaintive refrain, ‘While my guitar gently weeps…’.
I was not to be moved. A glance at the world outside my window strengthened my resolve. No way I was going out in that.
I like to believe I had bonded with my blue and pink backpack during the Summer Lockdown. That my backpack and I were a source of inspiration for the people we passed. Making them believe that shopping can be fun even without access to car and bus. All you needed for perfection was pain spray when you finally slid the backpack off your shoulders at home. And the sight of the guilt on the husband’s face. Heaven!
But this was the wild, wet Winter Lockdown. ‘No way,’ said my backpack. I agreed.
The husband re-emerged from his tryst with the weeping guitar in the afternoon. ‘Where’s that list then?’ He winced visibly when I handed it over.
He was back within the hour. I was suspicious. Needlessly, as it happened. Every last thing on my list was there in that bag. All I could do was swipe left for the suspicion. And swipe right back on my face the appropriate expression of guilt. It was the least I could do.