"What," I asked, hungry and tired, "do you want for dinner?"
"I don't want you to have to cook," my husband offered.
"OK," I said, wary, " then what shall we have?"
"Oh, you know," said my husband, "stuff that's in the fridge. You know, leftovers."
"What's in the fridge?" My voice was sharpening - I knew he didn't know what we had. "What leftovers do we have?"
He thought a moment. "Black-eyed peas?" I knew there was only a teacup-full of these. "And noodles?" He meant the packaged Japanese noodles that my mother had brought us a few weeks before, the kind where you boil the noodles and add the seasoning packets. My husband could not have known this, but the week before, tired and alone with the baby, I had devoured package after package of these noodles, my lips burning from the salt and the chili oil, my conscience burning from feeding my baby such gross instant "food." The very thought of eating them again made me feel sick. "You know," my husband continued, oblivious, "just this and that. I'll have some black-eyed peas and noodles and maybe a sandwich or something. I don't want you to have to cook, hon. Sorry I haven't cooked recently. I'll cook again next week."
I felt my brain squeeze savagely and my breath get shallow and my ears start to tingle: NOT THIS AGAIN. "Don't you see?!" I wanted to scream at my husband. "You say you don't want me to cook, but you won't cook yourself, and there's nothing to eat in the house, and I'm hungrystarvedhungry and a nursing mom who needs to eat but ifIwantsomethingdecenttoeat I HAVE TO COOK IT MYSELF. And you're talking like cooking is something special you do once a week or so while I spend time writing out our dinner menus in my little notebook and scouring the farmer's market for things you and the baby like and working on making sure we're eating balanced meals so we all stay healthy and now I'm hungry OUUUWWWWWW! OOOOOUUUUUUUUUUWWWWWWWW!!!!" That last is me howling in misery, or rather wanting to howl in misery - because remember, I did not actually say any of these things. Instead, I just stood very still in the kitchen, trying to take deep breaths.
Glowering, my insides burning, I made myself dinner. I made spaghetti with mushrooms cooked in butter and sage with lots of salt and pepper and parmesan. "I'm not giving you any," I told my husband, who, realizing the gravity of the situation, had already apologized. "OK," he said, conciliatory, "Fine. That's OK." I felt better as I ate, though, full and forgiving, and I ended up offering him some. He refused, possibly scared that I had poisoned his portion? "Naw," he said, "I'll just eat some cereal." So my husband ate a big bowl of cereal with sugar for dinner. While he ate, he sat on the couch and played with the baby, so that I could have time to sit at the computer and write this complaint about him.