Tax Time. The library undergoes its annual transformation from library/office to office/office. The computer is showing spreadsheets, not manuscripts or YouTube. Papers are being collected. It is during this “discovery phase” that a Certain Object arises to the light of day.
She: What is this?
She (holding up Certain Object): Candy? CANDY??? This is CHOCOLATE.
Me: You’re right. Did you find the receipt for the ink while you were—
She: Don’t change the subject!
Me (frowning): I thought the subject was taxes.
She: The trivial stuff can wait. We’re dealing with this now.
She (examining Certain Object closely): This is part of a chocolate bunny, still in its original box, from last Easter. Understand? Last EASTER. It was nearly a year ago.
Me: Well, yes. About one year, or will be around the time the taxes are due—
She: I SAID “Don’t change the subject.”
Me: You seem upset.
She: Do you have any idea why? I bet you don’t.
Me: Ummm…I’m sorry that I didn’t eat all the chocolate you got me last year? I mean, I liked it, but in my defense, it did kind of get lost in the pile—
She: That’s not it!
Me: Okay. What should I be apologizing for, then?
She (sigh): Nothing.
Me: We’ve been married long enough that even a blockhead like me knows that “nothing” is not nothing. It’s something. Usually a very big “something.”
She(even deeper sigh): I just don’t understand, that’s all. I try and I try. How do you do it?
Me: Do what?
She: Not eat the chocolate. Not eat ALL the chocolate.
Me: I tried to apologize for that.
She: Again—NOT IT.
Me: But you just said….
She: It’s not that you didn’teat it all, you jerk. It’s that you couldnot eat it all. You sat here at your desk, writing, reading, listening to music, whatever, for an entire YEAR either knowing there was chocolate within reach, or forgetting that there was chocolate within reach—and honestly, I don’t know which is worse. How? How do you do that???
Me: Ummm. I don’t know?
She (slaps her forehead): That’s it! Of course you don’t know. It’s because you are such a MAN.
Me: I should apologize for that, then?
She: Every day of your life. Preferably with an offering of freshly-made chocolate.