We should have been in church
We would have been in church this Sunday
Except for the Corona Virus
Sunday morning started off well but seemed rather strange since usually we would be in church where Marian taught her two-year olds in Sunday School.
But today was different. Since the spread of the Corona Virus, our church had begun live-streaming its service.
After I freshened up, I shaved, got dressed and ambled into our kitchen. Since Marian is usually thirty minutes or more ahead of me, she was her usual, busy self. On the black glass stovetop sat five large white eggs happily agitating in the two-quart stainless steel pot.
I sidled toward her, starting to prepare my own breakfast of cereal and fruit.
Efficiently, she lifted out the just boiled eggs and set them in the sink to cool. They would eventually go into a glass jar filled with a pickled solution, for future breakfasts.
Marian smiled, “Here, how about I make you a soft-boiled egg?”
“Well,” I hesitated. “OK. That would be nice.”
“It’ll be done in three minutes. Watch the clock. It’ll be 8:42,” she projected.
I noticed the water was still plenty hot but not boiling, so I thought it possibly needed a little extra time.
Pleased to help, she carefully dropped a fresh egg into the water. ”In three minutes, it’ll be perfect,” she resonated in her efficient, Mennonite way.
“OK,” I replied.
While waiting, I popped in a slice of fresh sourdough bread into the shiny toaster, slid out a large saucer plate from the cupboard and watched the time.
At 8:42, I spooned out the hot egg, skittering around on the plate, near the toast. I added a napkin, fork and a butter knife to crack the egg. After putting my steaming coffee on the bamboo tray I quietly shuffled away into my Art & Music Studio to eat my breakfast.
The bright, welcoming sun shone in from my left as I set the tray down. Looking through the south windows I could see a lovely setting of woods and lake. The brilliant sunlight illuminated a painting I created years ago of five swans swimming in a lake under a big rainbow, an image at odds with the blow-up in the kitchen that was about to happen.
Sitting on my cushy chair, it was time to eat my breakfast. The egg was still very hot, but I was finally able to hold it long enough to give it a good wack.
The orange-yellow yolk dripped down over the toast, but the white of the egg was still in its puberty. I twirled the knife around the inside of the shell, releasing the mostly clear, gelatinous egg white.
“Oh, well,” I mused, “at least it’s not hard boiled.” The soft-boiled egg was still tasty in spite of my hesitation.
After breakfast, I brought my dirty dishes back into the kitchen to rinse in the sink.
Marian appeared in the kitchen at the same time wearing a broad smile, knowing she had done a little something to surprise me. “What did you think about the egg?”
“Thank you for making it, but it should have stayed in a little longer. The egg white wasn’t quite done. The water should have been a little hotter and stayed in the pot until 8:43,” I commented.
Wow! Fireworks then erupted.
My wife glared at me menacingly and yelled, “You always (!?!) criticize me.” With that, Gestapo-like she stomped off into the bedroom, closing the door.
“I guess I lit a firecracker,” I mused. The temperature in the house had suddenly dropped to near freezing.
I then too was irritated at her for suddenly yelling at me. After all, I had thanked her for her efforts, and I thought I was just sharing a fact about the egg white with her.
“What shall I do now,” I thought. Perhaps go to the Waffle House (still open) and sip coffee for a while: A lot of effort to do that though. Maybe I’ll just hide in another room for a while until the house warms up a bit.
When conflicts in our marriage arise from either side, I feel better if we talk out our problem to get back as soon as possible to be the loving people we normally are.
After several minutes, I got inspired to try a different tack to restore harmony. “We need to have a way to fix this,” I decided.
So, I took out the non-stick pan from the oven, grabbed two steak knives, facing them in opposing directions. Then I went into the makeup counter in our bathroom and picked out a tube of lipstick, popped off the lid and placed the bright lipstick into the middle of the pan.
Soon afterwards, Marian walked by the kitchen, and I said, “Here, if we’re going to have a duel, you pick the weapon!” She stared uncomprehendingly at this odd display, two knives—and lipstick?
And then she laughed, I laughed too. Smiling and holding the pan with one hand I pulled her toward me, and we hugged.
“Clever idea, Clever,” she said, still smiling.
Point of View
It must have been obvious by line 2 in the story that husband Cliff, not me, wrote this narrative. Mine would have been slightly different. 😉
Point of view matters. Just ask a journalist. One’s viewpoint matters whether it’s witnessing an accident; evaluating local, state, and national news; or, living in close contact with family members. Author Calvin Trillin can give some brilliant examples of such contact as he does in The New Yorker “Daily Shouts & Murmurs” article (April 14, 2020).
Flash in the Pan
Our Sunday morning clash was sharp, contentious, but over quickly, a flash in the pan. According to Wiktionary this expression is idiomatic, “a transient occurrence with no long-term effect.”
Our flash-in-the-pan was likely a consequence of the onset of the Corona virus, a global ghost haunting our daily lives since mid-March. Cliff’s story reflected back to Sunday, March 15, 2020, just two days after the announcement of a pandemic.
Grief and Covid-19
On April 1, author friend, Melodie Davis published a post titled “Stress in relationships stalking us all during quarantine.” In it, she refers to an article in Harvard Business Review about the invasion of the virus into our lives, possibly triggering the stages of grief, at least for some of us. “The discomfort you’re feeling is grief,” claims the author.
It has occurred to me that I had probably hit Stage 2, anger, quickly–just two days after the grief and loss registered in my psyche. Out of the blue, I had become a harridan, but quickly recovered.
Hence, the story!
What is your story?
Your comments about mine?