Last night I was a good wife. I went to the hockey game with my husband even though it was the last thing I wanted to do. I even got him the tickets from work; and these were good tickets with free food and beer included.
Here’s how little I know about hockey:
Me: What’s it called when they put the players in time out?
Tony: You mean intermission?
Me: No, when they take the players off the ice because they are naughty.
Tony: Oh, you mean the penalty box.
Me: Oh yeah.
I get more good wife points because I didn’t mention that while I do things I don’t want to do to make him happy, he won’t do little things for me like spend all of our savings on donor egg cycles that probably won’t work. Le sigh.
But just in case you aren’t sure if I am a good wife, this next story will dispel all doubt.
At the hockey game during intermission (is that what it’s called?) little pee wee hockey “all stars” are invited onto the ice to play for a few minutes. It is an awwwwwww inspiring site. Who can resist impossibly little boys dressed in impossibly little sports outfits with impossibly little sticks playing with big boy pucks, on big boy ice, with big boy goals? Before I could even steel my emotions against this parade of fertility, this display of everything denied to me; my husband turns and says, “I can’t believe you won’t let our boy play hockey.”
I felt like I had inadvertently dipped my toe into a hot tub time machine. Is this 2006 when we still had hypothetical conversations about imaginary children? I didn’t think that was still allowed when your husband has sworn off all further attempts at baby making?
And this is where the good wife part comes in. Because when my husband turned to me in order to argue about children who do not exist and will never exist, I did not punch him in the face. I did not run shrieking out of the stadium. I did not even point out the insensitivity of such a comment. Instead I just turned to him and evenly said, “That seems like an unlikely scenario doesn’t it?”
And then I realized that my husband hadn’t meant to say what he did. It was just a reflex, like muscle memory. He was sad that he had said it and even more sad that he had said it to me.
Maybe hope is a muscle that remembers too.