I arrived home from work tonight with gifts for Wallington.
Gifts. Plural. Even I was astonished!
‘Hello husband’ she trilled merrily as I opened the door. We’d started this husband routine after watching lots of Hong Kong triad movies. Wives referred – deferred? – to ‘husbands’. In those movies husbands had menacing tattoos and machetes and moustaches and motorbikes and molls.
I had a plastic bag.
‘This is for you’ I said, holding the bag aloft. She kissed me.
‘Wow. This looks great! Is it a present?’
She was just checking.
‘Yes it is’ I said in a tattooey kind of husband way. ‘Several presents.’
I probably should have picked her up in my arms and carried her up to the bedroom at that point, the front door left urgently wide open, neighbours shouting at us to keep the noise down.
Didn’t do that.
We walked through to the kitchen and Wallington began unloading her gifts onto the bench.
‘Blueberries!’ she said.
‘What would be a good price?’ I asked.
‘Anything under four dollars a punnet.’
‘Two punnets for six’ I said triumphantly. Forget about carrying her upstairs. I should have grown a moustache and had her there on the kitchen floor.
‘Wonderful’ she said, possibly ironically.
She delved back into the wonderful plastic gift cave.
‘Diced pork! On special.’ Indeed. You don’t need a machete to love diced pork and I’d gifted two polystyrene packs with use-by dates that gave us days to decide how to cook them.
But she was rushing on, giddy with gifts like a kid at Christmas. Sort of.
‘Sirloin steaks!’ she said. ‘On special. Excellent.’
There’s probably no rule so I’ll establish one: if someone says ‘excellent’ when they get a gift they’re just scrambling around to say something. Anything. Excellent!
This is especially true if the gift is meat.
And so this extra/ordinary Wednesday husband night was packed into the refrigerator and the freezer and the miracle of romance moved outside to the garden with a glass or two of wine.