Short story I wrote for your amusement today. Enjoy!
Martha and Albert
She looked at the carpet again, as her husband rolled his eyes and huffed. Martha had been married to Albert for over forty years, so by now she was very adept at ignoring his subtle protests. They had been shopping for three hours for a rug for the dining room.
Candace, one of Martha’s bridge mates, had made a snarky remark about Martha having bare floors in the dining room at their last get together.
“You would think someone your age would know that a rug is the centerpiece that really pulls a room together.”
Martha didn’t particularly like Candace, but the critique had been gnawing at her constantly since it was spoken. What had she been thinking? How many magazines had she seen with beautiful dining rooms, and what pulled the room together? – the right rug! She’d never even thought about it before, but now all she noticed were rugs; in magazines, at other people’s homes, doctor’s offices, reception areas…rugs, rugs, rugs!
Albert was a practical man and saw no need for the rug. But Martha was insistent, and he had finally endured all the conversations he ever wanted discussing rugs. He had given in to shut her up.
So here they were, third store of the day. Martha really liked the oriental rug they were looking at, but she couldn’t remember if the dining room drapes were a teal blue or an aqua blue to match exactly to the rug.
“Honey, do you think it matches the drapes?”
“Martha, ask me if I give a shit.”
“I think the drapes are a little darker.”
“Who cares? It will be under the table. Who’s going to notice if the colors are off?”
“It’s important! It could throw the whole room off.”
“For the love of God, Woman, just pick one!”
Albert walked away down another aisle. He needed to get away from her. His eye was beginning to twitch.
Martha watched him wander off. She realized he was running out of patience, and shopping wasn’t really his thing to begin with.
“I’ll get this rug if you promise that if I decide it doesn’t work, you won’t act an ass if we have to bring it back.” She called out to him.
Albert stopped, turned.
He grabbed the rug and hurried to the salesperson to pay before she changed her mind. All he wanted to do was get home and plop into his recliner. He knew he had at least an hour more of appeasing her by jacking around with placing it under the table before he could have peace and quiet. The end was in sight if he could just get her the hell out of the store.
Martha laughed at the enthusiasm her husband showed in paying for the rug. She knew he just wanted to get home and for her to leave him alone. She briefly wondered if she could take advantage of his frame of mind to score a few more pieces for the dining room. What else did she need?
She thought about her dining room. So many happy memories in that room; family dinners, doing crafts with her grandchildren, playing bridge with her friends. Albert had actually made the table for her and stained it the perfect color. It was his gift to her for their twentieth anniversary.
Every mark and scratch told a story of their lives together. In fact she would always trace a semi-circle dent in the tabletop with her finger while talking on the phone. Albert was trying to hang a ceiling fan one year and it had come crashing down on the table when he dropped it. Oh, the firestorm of curse words that had flown out of that man’s mouth.
She giggled out loud remembering it.
Suddenly she was overcome with emotions. She loved that dining room. No one she cared about had ever said anything negative about there not being a rug. How much time had she wasted worrying about this rug situation? How silly.
She decided she had been stupid to let Candace’s words get to her, and now as her husband walked back carrying the rug and beaming, she decided, she HATED that rug.
“Albert, go get our money back. We don’t need a rug.”
Albert stopped in his tracks, smile vanishing. “What the hell are you talking about?! Isn’t that the whole reason we have been out all day? Why all of a sudden are we not getting a rug?”
“Because Candace is a bitch!”