Jessi stretched, her back weary from standing. She had been working in the kitchen for four hours, only taking a break long enough to scarf down a plate of food.
She stretched her neck, rubbing a sore spot with her hand, still red and wet from the scorching water.
“I sure hate that our dishwasher broke down.” She said into the other room where her husband sat in his lazyboy, his laptop on his lap, with the TV on, and turtle beechs over his ears. He hadn’t heard a word she said.
He never heard her, and he never would. Sometimes he just didn’t want to listen. But mostly it was his upbringing; how his father treated his mother.
He glanced up at her and noticed she was looking at him. Naturally, this created a signal in his lazy brain that made him pick up his soda in it’s cozy and shake it in her direction, with no emotion anywhere on his face.
Translation: He wasn’t going to get up. And he expected her to do it for him.
She shook her head, half pissed at him for being a lazy ungrateful pea-brain of a man, half pissed at herself for her inability to tell him no. Fear does many things to a person.
She continued to chastise herself on the short jot to the fridge. The cans were cold now, not that he would notice or thank her.. but if she were to bring him a warm soda, she would definitely hear about it.
She took it to the living room, removed the old soda from the can cozy and placed the new one in. She even opened the can for him. When she turned to walk away, he grabbed her wrist. This is how her wrists turn black and blue, she thought with a shudder. All it was to him was a simple silent plea for more babying. With his other hand, he was holding out his plate. Plastered on his face was a huge fake grin.
Translation: He wanted more, he wanted it now, he certainly wasn’t going to do it himself.
She grabbed the plate and rubbed the wrist he had grabbed.. then the small of her back. She ached from working all day. Cleaning, or trying to, while keeping a toddler happy, learning, and well fed wasn’t as easy as he made it out to be.
He didn’t care to see it from her perspective.
She threw away the can on her way back to the fridge. Her famous Meatloaf, made from scratch. It took her an hour and a half to make. Not that he noticed, or appreciated her effort. She had even walked a mile to the store for the last of the ingredients. He had been too ‘busy’ to drive, too stubborn to teach her how to drive.
She noticed the meatloaf was still warm to the touch as she sliced a large-enough helping out of her Tupperware dish. Certainly this would be enough..
She brought it back to him. He didn’t even look at her. He made her stand there as he slowly moved the laptop to the table to his left, eyes glued to the TV the entire while, finally taking the plate.
No thank you. No appreciation. Not even a smile.
Jessi sighed and went back to the kitchen. She put the meatloaf away, took the trash bag out of the house to the can on the curb, and went back to those damn dishes.
After a while, the little hairs on the back of her neck started standing on end. Suddenly she felt him behind her, trying to kiss on her neck.
“Stop, I have work to do.”
“You should have been done with this shit before I got home!”
“I’ve been working on it –”
“Bullshit. It should be done by now. I’m going to bed. You better not stay up!”
“Alright.. I’ll be there there in minute.”
With a grunt, he disappeared down the hall. Jessi wasn’t sure which outcome he wanted more.. the dishes to get finished, or her to come to bed. Either way, she knew she would end up in trouble.
She organized the sink so it appeared like she had accomplished more than she truly had, and finished cleaning the larger items, also helping her minimize the appearance of dish clutter. Then she started into the darkened hallway, knowing what awaited her at the end of it.