My Next Pick Is

Photo by Micheile Henderson on Unsplash

“Okay,” said Bill, smothering a wince. “I’ll sacrifice the bean bag chair.”

“Sacrifice?” said Tina. “It’s not a sacrifice. It should have died when you graduated college.”

“I love that chair. That’s where I do all my best thinking,” he said, grabbing her around the waist, pressing his face into her neck and taking a nibble. “Maybe we should go do some thinking there right now, you know, take advantage of it while it’s still here.”

She giggled, eased out of his arms, smoothed down her sweater. “No, come on, I’m serious. We’ve got to get this done if we’re ever going to make this place home.”

“Wherever we’re together is my home,” he said and reached out to her.

“Come on, Bill. The bean bag chair goes. Your turn.” She pressed a sticky note on the chair, ran a hand through her hair. “Do you think anything’ll be left by the time we’re done?”

“I was done an hour ago. I don’t see why we have to get rid of the coffee table or the lava lamp or the beach towels or beer mugs…”

“We’re setting up our home, the place where we start our lives together. Let’s get rid of the stuff that bugs us, that we don’t like. It’s nothing personal. It’s getting ready for our new life as Mrs. and Mr.”

“Mr. and Mrs.,” he said. “Okay, if we have to keep on going, I say the shower curtain.”

“What?” her voice squeaked.

“The shower curtain. Frilly, lacy ragged old thing. I hate it. That goes.”

“But, not that. What about the dinged mixing bowls; we’re going to get new ones from my aunt? Or what about the frog sponge holder in the kitchen. It’s totally hideous.”

“Nope,” he said, crossing his arms. “The shower curtain.”

“But we need a shower curtain. That’s the only one we have.”

“It’s not the only one in the world. We’ll get a new one, a fresh one, one that we both like.” He folded his arms across his chest.

“But I love that one! It took me forever to find it. They don’t make them anymore.” She was whining, big brown eyes pooling with tears.

“They never should have made them. That’s my pick. It goes.” He took a sticker from his pocket, went to the bathroom and attached it to the shower curtain.

“Bill, for the love of, I mean it. I say no. I get to vote no once and that’s my pick.” She followed him into the bathroom and bumped into his back.

“Oh, that’s the way you want it to be? Okay, I vote to keep the bean bag chair.” He spun around, smiling, cruel knowing he had her in a corner.

“No!” she stamped her foot, tears starting to stream. “That chair is awful. It smells and takes up too much space and doesn’t fit with our furniture. Please, Bill, be reasonable. The shower curtain is fine. I mean, come on, it’s like new.”

“Frilly, fussy crap. No. It’s got to go. And that’s final.” He hit every syllable with perfect, horrible judgment.

She took a deep breath, fixed her eyes on his. “Okay. Let’s take a moment. What are we doing here? Setting up our future home, for when we’re married and join our lives together forever.” She smiled, massaged his shoulders with powerful promise. “What’s a little shower curtain between us? Nothing. So, it can stay. What would you like to keep — other than the horrible bean bag chair.”

“I need a beer. Want one?” He pressed her shoulders once, eased around her and out to the kitchen. A moment later, the refrigerator door slammed.

“I gotta go out. We’re out of my beer.”

She came out of the bathroom, watched him slide into his jacket. “There’s other beer in there. Come on, honey, don’t be like that. We’re almost finished anyway. Want to stop now and call for pizza?”

“No, I’m just going to go out for a six-pack. I’ll be back.”

The door slammed behind him. She stalked over to the kitchen window, threw it up, and waited until she saw him out on the street.

“We just got the damn invitations! Everything is bought and paid for. Don’t be such a baby. Come on, come on back and let’s work this out.” Her voice shook.

He raised his arm, not bothering to turn around. He slammed the car door and screeched into the street without looking.

“…and this won’t be here…” She wrestled the bean bag chair out of the corner, crammed it out of the window.

The bean bag chair exploded when it hit the sidewalk. Pellets scattered, pigeons landed to investigate. She gazed down in horror. What had she done? It would be the first thing he’d see when he got home. So much for being reasonable and adult about blending their stuff. If they couldn’t manage this little thing, what did that mean for their marriage?

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