My spouse is loving, gentle. Just sometimes, sometimes, she gets a glint in her eye that I after more than two decades can interpret without a go-between, translator, medium, spirit or sangoma (African witch doctor). I just know: Trouble is on its way! And the four-legged children with their uncanny senses even know before me and get out of the way, totally and swiftly. They just have to bark at the dove on the roof right at this moment and spell out his rights as “tenant” in the tree in our yard, clause by clause. Or the poor, incidental passer-by, just have to be informed that trespassers on this yard will not be prosecuted – no, they will be torn into a thousand juicy pieces and will be devoured with relish without any added herbs or spices, slowly, morsel by morsel. Which leaves me, defenseless, with said spouse, lamb-turned-lioness (is it a PMS week???)
“I wonder,” she says and keeps quiet.
I remain quiet as well, I’m not a sucker for punishment.
“I wonder,” while she pouts, pondering and her eyes glaze over while she stares at the chimney-thingy piece of furniture (what on earth do you call this tower-looking thing?) I remain as quiet as a mummy in a sarcophagus. To open your mouth now, could mean instant death.
“How do you think the little chimney,” (Oh, do we call it that now? Okay with me!), “will look in that corner?” and her eyes drill across the room.
“Uhm,” I venture. Only this, nothing more. I love life.
“I think we must move that couch over here and the other couch over there, then there will be a space for the small brown table. Then the corner will look too empty and the little chimney will be ideal to spruce it up, don’t you think?”
My smile could be described as sick, as this is how I am feeling – I have just become accustomed to the current arrangement of furniture after the last “Big Move” and now the sword of change is hanging over my head again. And I don’t like change, to put it mildly.
“Shall we try, angel?” She smiles lovingly at me. My heart does not even sink into my boots, it plunges through the bottoms.
“Fine.” Another sick grin, I must show enthusiasm, after all, it is our house and the children and I live here too!
For the next hour it is lift-carry-put-down; shift-lift-put-down; vacuum, chase spiders out of the house; until spouse is happy that the new layout is exactly what she pictured in her mind.
I sigh (softly) in relief – now we might have about six weeks of peace with the new arrangement of the furniture. The children enter and inspect their newly awarded spaces carefully – there is no mention of approve, we all know who is the Boss in this house! It seems as if they find it acceptable and soon we all have a new favorite place to sit or lie down.
Spouse sinks down in her new spot in front of the TV and smile happily. It is time for the evening news and we look at the usual murder, mayhem, political corruption and fraud in silence. Then, just before the weather report, spouse says, “I think the furniture looked better the way it used to be, don’t you agree?”
The children at that point (incidentally?) hear a jogger and his two sheepdogs approach the house and decide they are a threat to our “fort’s” security, therefore they storm outside, barking threats of maiming and death upon entry of the fort. It leaves me alone with their mom and my spouse.
I haul out a grin. “To me it looks just as great, but you are the expert, love.”
“Coward!” taunts the little guy with the tail and horns on my left shoulder.
“Survival strategy!” the little guy with the wings and halo on my right shoulder retorts.
“Do you want us to move the furniture back to where they were before, dear?” I am oh-so-pliable.
“Jelly fish!” shouts the little tailed monster.
“Shut up!” I shout back, (inaudible, of course!)