“You’re a dot I can erase like that.” Susan snapped her fingers and tossed her brown hair.
“Now, let’s talk about this. It’s just a toilet seat.”
“Oh, it’s much more than a toilet seat. It’s a symbol of your utter disregard for my feelings! And it’s damn cold on a winter night!”
“But I do regard your feelings. I know you like chocolate. I bring you chocolate.”
“Yes, but you like chocolate, too – and eat most of it!”
“You like flowers. I bring you flowers. I don’t eat the flowers. This is a minor slip,” he pleaded. “Sometimes I forget.”
“Sometimes!” she snorted. “You forget all the time!”
He would have to resort to something stronger than reasoning. Susan rarely went off on these rants. Otherwise, he couldn’t handle it, but after ten years, he still didn’t understand what triggered them. PMS? There were still so many things he didn’t understand about women. Would something capricious do the trick?
“We’ve been cooped up in this house too long,” he said. “We've got cabin fever. Today’s a gorgeous spring day. How about a bike ride?”
“You’re just trying to change the subject.”
“Well,” he said, “maybe that’s not such a bad idea. You like Donovan Park. I’ll push you on the merry-go-round.”
“I don’t feel like the merry-go-round.”
“Then I’ll go by myself.”
And off he peddled. Not a terribly capricious idea, he thought. Half-way to the park, he made a detour, returned home a little later and slipped in the front door. “As Time Goes By” wafted from the den. Perfect, she was watching a DVD. He slipped into the bathroom for a couple of minutes, then returned to the front door, which he slammed. “I’m back,” he called. “Why don’t I fix dinner tonight?”
No response from the den.
In the kitchen he clattered pots and pans, setting up to prepare his specialty, mac-and-cheese with wieners. Minutes crept. Would she stay in the den forever? Finally he heard the sound of her footsteps on the tile floor leading to the bathroom and held his breath.
There was a moment of silence, then, “Gregory Anderson! Are you crazy!” came her shrill voice.
He hurried to the bathroom. She stood staring at the toilet. Yellow and purple chrysanthemums, red and white carnations, long frilly ferns and other greenery filled the bowl and drooped over the side. A red carnation lay on the floor. "La Marseillaise" triumphed from the den.
“What on earth am I going to do with these? How am I going to handle this?”
But the absurdity was too much. She began to laugh -- and cry.
Now Greg allowed himself to laugh. He put his arms around her and kissed her forehead.
Normality again. He put his cheek to hers, then whispered in her ear, “I’ll clean this up, but would you mind fixing dinner?”
She whispered in his ear, “Ok, but you’d better hurry.”
Motivation: I wrote this in response to a prompt in a flash challenge at ShowMeYourLits, a writing forum that is password-protected and has an identified member base.
Bio: I live on the Texas gulf coast and have fiction published in Every Day Fiction and personal essays in Texas Gardener and Looking Back. I worked as an editorial assistant for a trade journal in Washington, D.C., and as a technical editor for industry.