9:30 AM – Because I’ve tried to watch things with her before, I let her know via text that we’re going to watch one episode of a twenty-two minute show in the evening, after the kids have been put to bed, so she has time to prepare. For the sake of argument, let’s say the show is Last Man on Earth, because it is. She confirms the plan with a thumbs up sticker.
2:30 PM – Remind her that we’re going to watch a show in the evening. She confirms the plan with “Ok”, which over text seems slightly more irritated than a thumbs up sticker. But I’m also very sensitive about tone, and may have read into ambiguous texts and vocal inflections in the past, and I’m working on that.
8:30 PM – Having read to the kids, coached them through the interminable process of putting their pajamas on, brushing their teeth, getting drinks of water, asking for audiobooks on an iPad, looking for the iPad cord because no one will leave the damn iPad plugged in and it’s about to die, finding the cord, etc. . . . I sit down on the couch, with my book, to wait. Just kidding, it’s not a book. It’s my phone, and I’m taking Harry Potter based personality quizzes. My wife is doing a couple of final dishes.
8:50 PM – My wife is mopping the floor. I assume that this is a necessary act, an important part of the housework that day. I do not interrupt her.
9:15 PM – My wife has removed all items from all drawers in the kitchen and is scrubbing the insides of the drawers with a mild vinegar solution. I ask her gingerly if she’s ready to sit down. “Oh,” she says, “I was waiting for you.” I do not address this directly. “No,” I say, “I was just reading Anna Karenina on the Kindle app on my phone.” I am lying to my wife, because I’ve actually drifted down a quiz-hole and am discovering which kind of movie spoiler I am according to an in-depth, 5 question test. “Okay,” she says, “I need to get my cozy clothes on.” She darts back into our room with real quickness.
10:30 PM – I walk towards our bedroom, to find her in the bathroom, scrubbing the bathtub with a mild vinegar solution. I smile. “Oh,” she says, “I was waiting for you. Don’t you want to put sweats on?” I do not address this directly. I put my sweats on, as in a dream. “I’m going back out to the couch.” “Okay,” she says, “I’m brushing my teeth.”
10:35 PM – She comes out and sits on the couch. “Hit play,” she says, “I’m ready.”
10:35 and 10 seconds PM – My wife gets up from the couch. “Do you want a La Croix?” she says. I hit pause, and say “Yeah, I’ll have one.”
10:36 PM – My wife is banging on the door to the garage, where we keep the La Croix. She’s scared that there will be a skunk in the garage. She’s right to be scared, because there often is a skunk in our garage. Not tonight though.
10:37 PM – She hands me a La Croix , sits down, and then immediately stands back up. I hit pause, reflexively. I feel as though this is intentional, that she’s doing this to mess with me, but I’m working on not reading into things. “I forgot to floss,” she says. She runs to the bathroom.
10:40 PM – I am asleep on the couch. I think that internalizing petty frustration makes me narcoleptic. My wife nudges me and asks if we should just watch the show in our room. I nod and get up and get in bed in our room.
10:53 PM – I wake slightly, to the sounds of my wife mopping the kitchen floor again. The swish of the rag on the floor and the odor of the mild vinegar solution combine to lull me back to sleep, and I sleep deeply. I have a wish-fulfillment dream in which I watch an entire episode of a twenty-two minute show in a single sitting, without stopping.
7.6 billion years in the future – the sun reaches maximum size as a red giant and consumes the earth. In the aftermath of this event, my wife enters our room and gets in bed, and does not seem surprised to find that all life in our solar system has been extinguished. She turns on an episode of Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown.