Saturday night. Time for the weekly Dinner Date night. They had been doing this for the past year of their marriage. It was supposed to make them feel like they were dating, bring back that newly dating fresh-feeling. At least that’s what their marriage counselor had told them that night many appointments ago, Mary thought to herself. She let out a big sigh then caught herself before Jim heard her.
“So, where do you want to go tonight, Jim?”, Mary faced her husband and braced her hands under the breakfast nook table for the conversation she knew was about to follow.
“Oh, I don’t care. You pick this time.” Jim mumbled through the body of the morning paper. “You know I hate being made to pick.” He snapped the paper turning to the next page.
“O.K. There’s this really great Chinese…”
Jim interjected before she could go any further, “Don’t tell me you want to go for Chinese. You KNOW I can’t take that stuff, that MSG.”
“Well then, I was thinking Maison…”
“Oh heck no! That place is too expensive and you know I can’t eat rich food. The doctor said no more. Jesus, Mary, can’t you just come up with something!”
Mary paused. Took a reassuring sip of her coffee, savoring it’s warmth, it’s comfort. She’d try that final third attempt. “Then Outback. They have good variety. Gotta be something there we’d both like?” Then she waited for the same response she’d been receiving all these Saturday mornings.
“Eh! Not in the mood. To heck with this. We’re going to Olive Garden. I don’t feel like quibbling anymore. Love their breadsticks after all. You too, Mary, right? Yeah that’s right” Jim dropped the corner of his paper. “Mary, you really should try to come up,with the restaurant one of these times. Dr. Fields says you need to take some initiative in this marriage. I have to agree, ya know. So tiring to make ALL the decisions…”
Mary heard Jim as he droned on but she had learned to not process this part anymore. What was the use listening since it was the same every time? Zoning out at this point is what saved her from running away from the table screaming and pulling her hair out; just as she envisioned in her daydream.
Taking one more long drink of coffee, Mary came back to the present. She found a slight smile to put on her face and said, “Breadsticks will do just fine. Pass me the Front Page now you’re done.”