She was nagging again. On and on in her whiny, irritating voice. Accusing George of being...what was it this time? Oh, yeah, he was lazy and ungrateful...or was that stupid and inept? The whining buzzed around the room like angry bees and he managed to evade the stingers by staying calm.
“I mean, really, if could hear Shirley McDonald bragging about her Stanley,” she said, rolling her eyes. “According to her, the man is a saint. And I have to agree because he puts up with her. Imagine—she never has to tell him to take out the trash or put his dirty socks in the hamper or remind him to put dirty dishes in the dishwasher. Oh, he’s a saint that Stanley.”
He wanted to interject, but held back. “Go and live with Stanley!” was on the tip of his tongue. “Run away with Stanley. Have an affair with Stanley. Applaud Stanley when he drops his dirty socks into the hamper. Give him gold stars for remembering Friday is garbage day.” He didn't say a word though. He imagined what she would say if he were to say such things and it amused him and he smiled.
Catching him smiling, she practically spit, “Yeah, that’s right George. Sit there and smirk. Go right ahead! It’s about all you’re good for anyway. I mean really...”
He tuned completely out now. He stared at the television (with the volume turned down it was fun to imagine what the people on TV were saying...he’d hazard a guess they were saying that George Ramsey was married to a shrew).
Her words merged and converged as she went into vindictive mode then swiftly into listing mode where every single thing he’d forgotten to do—from trimming his toenails in 1981 to yesterday’s failure to bring in the newspaper—was spouted. The mode switched quickly to the “why me?” followed immediately by the “poor me” mode and finally (Inwardly he sighed. He wasn't listening, but he knew the modes by tempo and volume of her voice.) her “I give up” mode. This final mode was always announced with, “I don’t know why I bother talking to you, George.”
That was the first honest thing she’d said. Talking ‘to’ because she had no idea how to talk ‘with’.
She sank into her armchair, picked up a glossy magazine and started flipping through it with abrupt, angry motions.
George realized, yet again, it was always best to say nothing.
ktn © 2003