John and Marsha sit side-by-side on one side of the booth in the dark, paneled dining room of the new steak house, studying the menu. When John scootches closer to her, Marsha is charmed. Maybe the candlelight is working its magic.
It’s their anniversary. Things have been a bit rocky in the marriage lately, at least for Marsha. She suspects John hasn’t noticed any difference. And that’s been the problem. Not only is he not as romantic with her as he was in the beginning, it seems like the only time he actually sees her is when she’s the butt of one of his practical jokes. She’s about reached the end of her patience, and has decided it’s time to take action. This anniversary dinner is step one in her campaign to bring back the passion. She’d really wanted to go to the romantic little bistro downtown, but, hey, marriage is a compromise, right? She’s willing to give a little.
“20-ounce porterhouse, baked potato with the works, creamed spinach and the wedge salad with blue cheese dressing and bacon for me. What’re you having?” John asks as he closes the menu.
Easy for him to say, Marsha thinks. He hasn’t gained an ounce since our wedding ten years ago.
“I can’t decide,” she replies. “Everything is so fattening. Did you see that baked potato the waiter just delivered to the next table? It looks like a football.”
John pauses the process of slathering butter on the dinner roll he’d holding and looks at her, eyebrows raised. “So? You’ve got a good appetite.”
“But the calories… You know everything goes right to my hips.”
“”Ohn nee ilyu okgrt,” he mumbles around the mass of roll he’s just stuffed into his mouth.
“What? Did you just say I really need to lose weight? What’re you telling me? That I’m fat?” Marsha demands. So much for the romance.
John laughs. “No, of course not. What I said was, ‘Don’t be silly. I think you look great’.”
At that moment, John dramatically slides off the edge of the booth and lands on the floor with a thump.
That’s it. Marsha leans over to help him up and back into the booth, where he slides onto her steak knife up to its hilt.
“Yeah, that’s what I thought you said.”
This was written for the Tenth Daughter of Memory.