As Jemma and I exited city hall, I came to my wary, obvious conclusion: this was it! The knot was tied, the in-laws were met, the cake was cut, the papers were signed, and here I was- in the door for good. My former steady hands now shook uncontrollably, my would-be single self seemed to wave at me from a parallel universe as he walked off into the distance with two blondes on either side. I was married now, and there was nothing I could do about it.
Grocery shopping was my one and only designated chore. Jemma didn’t know if she could trust me with it at first, but decided to hell with it, and handed me the list. Enlarged to show detail read the tofu package. Our local supermarket’s vegetarian/vegan aisle helped me see that indigestion wasn’t going to be a problem; granted, I didn’t seem to eat much as it was. Suddenly, I couldn’t help, but feel overcome by the sensation of still agony and temptation. I eyed the countless granola sections, and gluten-free, “pasta” TV dinners, and then, past the numerous Luna bars, among the bean dips and Cole slaws, I saw an array of deli meats, rotisserie chickens, and mini pot roasts. My heart thumped loudly. How I wished to divest from my married ties, and inch toward freedom, toward meat and cholesterol once again, but alas, my money was at stake. One small flinch, one indiscretion, food-related, or otherwise, and I would pay for it with everything I worked so hard to get to. And so, I stocked up on my tofu and went home.
There was a frigid chill in the air and winter was nearing. I couldn’t possibly think of another season I disliked more. Just last week, Jemma compared my martyr-like qualities to winter itself. This put me on such an edge, I began to take up smoking again. Just one a week. One pack that is. I figured that after getting hitched, it would be a shame if my love for something didn’t grow, and after dilly-dallying for a while, I chose tobacco infused products over my own wife.
On my way home, I stopped at the front door and checked the mailbox, hoping some letter or note from Tony arrived. Three weeks into marriage, and no word from him. He may have acted like the sort to disregard his duties, but after getting to know him for a long while, I decided to let him in on my secrets from time to time, (making him promise never to tell another soul.) Once experimenting with these such “secrets” of mine for a couple of years, and toiling with his head, I believed he could be trusted and began investing some more profound things into our friendship. These such things included bets and gambles, and boy, had the most recent one of ours been a great deal all in itself. However, I couldn’t help but worry that this time; Tony had really done me in, and is now in his Brooklyn, rundown apartment having a good laugh at my sad and miserable expense.
Jemma’s borsht filled the air as I headed on inside.
“Hi Honey,” she said, lifting her steak knife, or what she claimed to be a “sweet potato knife”, in the air as she chopped away on some helpless vegetables lying on the cutting board below her.
“Yello,” I said under my breath.
“So this package from some guy came,” she nonchalantly mentioned, and as she said the words, my heart lumped in my throat.
“What package? Where? Did you open it? Where?” I frantically spoke.
After giving me several stink eyed looks, she motioned, with her knife, in the direction of the mail shelf, where we seemed to keep all other packages. I intended on acting more subtle should something like this ever come up, but I didn’t seem to rehearse enough. My eyes met way toward the stuffed manila envelope; her mustard-like color called to me. This was love. I reached for it, tucked it under my arm, and made my way toward the restroom, grocery bags still in hand. I instantaneously, upon locking the door first, open it.
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