If a strong relationship is defined by having open lines of communication, then my wife and I communicate down the Lincoln Tunnel. We’re always quick to talk about how much we love and adore each other but occasionally, sarcasm, backhanded compliments, and the rare blatant insult enter in to our talks as well. And when conversations turn from minor disagreements to all out brouhahas, both of us understand somewhere along our highways of communication there needs to be room for apologies.
By current count, apologies given are at 723,485 to 6 (By our 20th Anniversary, I’m sure she’ll have apologized for the 10th time). We both understand, no matter what our conversations devolve in to, we both love each other very much, and sometimes, “I’m sorry” says “I love you” better than a Hallmark card. And sometimes, we both get so caught up in trying to be right; an apology can be like an athlete admitting “my bad”.
Case in point, my wife “lost” one of her shirts the other day…
10:42pm. On a Thursday.
“Have you seen my black shirt?” I can tell before Alicia has even finished saying the word ‘Have’ that this conversation is not going to end well.
“You’re going to have to narrow down ‘black shirt’ hon. You’re like the Imelda Marcos of black shirts.”
“This isn’t funny. And who is Imelda Marcos?”
“She was…never mind. Which black shirt are you talking about?” I thought it best not to dive in to my analogy and extend this conversation any longer than it needed to be.
“It’s the short sleeved one with a V-Neck and a pattern around the neck.” Full disclosure, all I heard was ‘blah blah blah…neck’ which you will soon find out will come back to haunt me. I blame my wife though, she should have told me to turn off the television before striking up this conversation.
“Ummm, I have no idea. Did you check the closet?” I thought I’d go logical.
“Yes! Of course I checked the closet! And I checked my dresser. Now where is it?” It didn’t take Freud to sense her accusatory tone.
I began mounting my defense, “Why in the world would I know what happened to your black shirt?”
She began cross examining, “Because you fold the wash and sometimes you put my stuff away. Now do you remember folding it?”
“First of all, in the past 13 years, the only article of clothing I have put away for you have been your socks and secondly, I folded 4 loads of wash, 4 days ago. I have no idea what I did or did not fold.” The defense rests.
“Would you get up and help me find it?” And it appears court is still in session. “And don’t roll your eyes and ‘sigh’, just help me.” The woman is a psychic.
I went upstairs to our bedroom with her and began going through the closet which seemed less like a closet and more like the hallway from Poltergeist that kept getting longer as JoBeth Williams ran down it. Meanwhile, my wife began rifling through my clothing drawers.
“Why are you looking through my stuff?”
“Because the shirt is not with my stuff. You must have put it away with one of your shirts. And how many t-shirts do you have? My god, get rid of some of these!”
“I think you’re losing focus here hon.”
“Just keep looking.”
“Is it this one?” I would go on to ask her that very same question 5 times and get the same answer of ‘no’ each time which would crescendo each time she said it until the last time she said ‘no’ she added this to her answer, “Did you even listen to what I said the shirt looked like?! Why do you not pay attention?”
I told you it would come back to haunt me.
Thankfully mocking her under my breath was enough of a hesitation for me to realize telling her I was watching a good show when she told me about the shirt was not the best idea.
We would go on for the next 45 minutes checking the closet, each drawer, the hall closet, the laundry room, and the dryer.
“Did you check the garage?”
“Yes. I put it in the garage next to the lawnmower and snow shovel. I’m not going in to that garage to look for your shirt. I’ll buy you a new one before I do that.”
“You know, you aren’t funny and I don’t want another shirt; I want the one you hid.”
“Well, I guess we’ll have to kee…wait. Hid? Seriously?”
“I don’t know, but you know I can’t because where is it?” The woman was now blinded by rage and lost the ability to form full sentences. I actually contemplated going in to the garage just so I could end this.
The phrase ‘…like Grant took Richmond’ echoed in my head every minute of the 45 we hunted for that black shirt. Every time we emptied another drawer with no success, she accused me of sabotaging her black shirt. Then, like Indiana Jones found the map room to the Ark of the Covenant right under his feet, she found the shirt.
Hanging in our closet.
Right where she hung it the day before.
“I’m sorry I got so mad and I am really sorry I blamed you for losing my shirt.”
“You know, if you didn’t have so many black shirts, this may not have happened.”
“Don’t ruin it.”