Tuesday, December 8, 2009

His Perspective

[Author's note:  I wrote this originally four years ago for a Christmas story project we did at Steinbeck Cafe, a now defunct Literary Cafe at HPANA which is where the core of my writing group first became acquainted with each others' non-Potter writing.  It was true then, and still true today.]

“Why does Marc have his lights up already?”
“He probably just wanted to get them up before it was too cold.”
“Well I’m against that.”
“What does it matter?”
“It’s not even Thanksgiving.”
“Thanksgiving is tomorrow, it really doesn’t matter.”
“He shouldn’t have them up yet. It bugs me.”

“What are you doing?”
“Writing a Christmas card letter.”
“Oh God, not one of those tacky things that annoy everyone.”
“They don’t annoy everyone, just you.”
“Well they should annoy everyone, if they knew anything.”

“Who are you sending cards to?”
“A bunch of people.”
“Let me see that list. Who’s Daphne?”
“From graduate school, you remember?”
“They came over for dinner that time…”
“Oh, she’s blonde? Why does she need a card?”
“It’s nice to catch up.”
“When was the last time you talked to her?”
“She's one of my Facebook friends.”
“So, you don’t really care.”
“Yes I do. I just don’t have time to keep in touch one on one.”

“Do you really need lights up?”
“It would be nice.”
“Who’s going to do it?”
“Well…I can.”
“No, you’d fall off the ladder.”
“I would not.”
“No, I’ll do it.”

“Hey, you can’t put anything about me in there!”
“It would be weird if I didn’t. You’re my husband.”
“They don’t care about me.”
“Yes they do.”
“No they don’t.”
“They care about me and by extension they care about you.”
“Well it’s none of their business.”
“It would be weird for me to send something with stuff about me and the kids and nothing about you.”
“I don’t care, I’ll throw them all out if you put anything about me.”

“What do you want a family picture for?”
“To put in with the Christmas cards.”
“Well I’m not going to be in it.”
“Why not?”
“It makes me tired.”

“Hey, do you mind if the kids stay up to watch ‘Santa Clause is Coming to Town’ Tonight?”
“Of course I don’t.”
Well, it’s a school night.”
“I know, but it’s part of Christmas.”

“I took a picture of the kids today, you can put that in your silly letter.”
“Thank you.”

“Australia! Who do you know in Australia?”
“A friend of mine from online.”
“Oh god. Another of those geeks. They don’t know where we live do they?”
“It’s only that women’s group. I know them.”
“No you don’t. It could be anybody.”
“Well I know enough about them that I trust them. She’s not coming here from Australia anyway.”
“What’s she look like?”
“Will you stop?”

“What’s all that?”
“Presents for my family. We need to ship them.”
“They don’t need presents. Just send them a card with that picture.”
“This is my family.”
“But why do they need presents?”
“They just do.”
“I don’t think they need anything.”

“Hey, I told you not to write anything about me in these. You have to print all these over.”
“I’m not taking it out. I told you I was putting it in there.”

“Hey, if you’re done I can take those to the post office tomorrow.”

“We’re not getting a tree until all this clutter is picked up.”
“That’s fine, I’ll pick it up.”
“You know there wouldn’t be all these piles if you’d just put stuff away.”
“I’ll pick it up.”
“You know it would be easier if you just put things where they go in the first place.”
“I heard you. I will pick it up.”
“I don’t think we’ll get a tree.”
“I’d like you to go away now.”

“You need to pick up all that stuff in our room too.”
“Oh stop it. You can’t change the rules when I’m almost done. I’m picking up the living room.
“No, I don’t think we’ll get a tree.”
“I am almost done.”
“No you’re not, what about that pile over there.”

“Have you finished shopping for the kids?”
“Well you don’t have much time.”
“I know.”
“When do you plan on going?”
“I was hoping Sunday.”
“Oh no. You had the car all last weekend. We’re not getting a tree then.”

“Who are these people?”
“It’s my dad’s sister and her husband.”
“And what do they want?”
“It’s a Christmas card.”
“Oh god, not one of those things.”
“It lets everyone know what they’ve been doing.”
“Why do we care?”
“It’s nice to catch up.”
“Why don’t they just call people?”

“Kids! The Grinch is on!”

“Okay, so everyone get your shoes on, I thought we’d go get a tree. I want a Noble Fir.”
“They don’t grow Noble Firs in Michigan.”
“Well that’s what I want. Next year we’re buying a fake tree.”

“How long are you going to be in here?”
“I’m just making candy. It’s faster than cookies.”
“Well you better be done soon. I need to make dinner.”
“I know, it only takes 20 minutes or so.”
“You need to clean up too.”
“I know.”

“You know you need to check all those lights.”
“I already did.”
“Okay, if you’re sure.”

“Hey, those big ornaments can’t go up that high. Little ones go up high, the bigger ones go lower.”
“Will you stop, what does it matter?”
“It’s not how its done.”
“Look Martha, nobody is grading our tree.”
“Don’t put those together, they're the same. Spread them out a little.”

“You missed a spot. There are no ornaments back here.”
“There are too.”
“And you can’t use that one, it’s tacky.”

“That card for your cousin came back. Don’t you know where he lives?”
“He just moved. I found out yesterday.”
“Why didn’t you just address it to ‘Butterball’ in Idaho. It would have gotten there.”
“Will you not pick on him? He’s a nice man. I don’t care if you pick on the family that is rude to you--there are plenty to choose from, but I wish you would be nice to the nice people.”
“Who says I have to be nice?”
“The world would be a better place if everyone tried to be nice.”
“Oh geez.”

“I miss dad.”
“I know honey, I wish we lived closer.”

“Merry Christmas, honey. I’m sorry I get so stressed out.”
“It’s okay, I’m used to it.”
“I love you.”
“I love you too.”

[on another note:  The Australian friend DID in fact show up at our house two summers ago--invited, of course.  This year Marc across the street died, and my husband actually put up his own lights before Thanksgiving.  I think it may have been a tribute.]


Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I love this! It's not all wine and roses, is it? But we still have to love them.

Mystery Writing is Murder

M.J. Nicholls said...

"When I first read this it sounded like the voice of the woman's conscience."

"It's not, it's her spouse."

"Yes, but in parts of this entertaining duologue that was the impression I got."

"But you're an idiot."

"Who are you, then?"

"I'm your conscience-wife."

"Great, so I have a real wife and a conscience-wife."

"That's about the sum of it. There's NOWHERE TO HIDE."

"Nice capitals, baby."

"Thanks, fatnose."

Word verification: terse

Watery Tart said...

Thank you, Elizabeth! No, not wine and roses at all. I frequently tell him when I look up cantankerous it has his picture. I always hope though, the good points come through too--a ton of grumbling, interspersed with real thoughtful moments.

Mark-My hubby and I have swapped gender roles, so not at all surprising that he sounds like the 'wife'--in many ways he is (he is the home maker and child rearer, I am the worker)... and he is the nag...

Briony said...

I loved this when I first read it way-back-when and still love it now.

I did giggle to myself when I read the card-to-Australia bit, then felt a bit squirmy, then giggled again.


Watery Tart said...

Speak of the devil! Did you notice my recent Australian fame? (were you responsible, or are you saving your favors for my book tour?) That is one of my favorite things about this... that the Australian showed up *snort*

(now a Norwegian has too...)

Jan Morrison said...

right on durango!

Liz said...

Love it Tart
The Wench

*Kas* said...

Just wait til a Carolina kid shows up "Hey, guess who's in town for the summer!" (Of course this is me in my DREAM world since after this semester, my gpa is going to nosedive and I probably won't even get into the summer program at UM).

Anywho.. I've read this a couple of times before, and still love it. It reminds me not so much of my parents.. they don't really bicker -- they coldshoulder, but of me and my boyfriend. We're definite bickerers. :]

Rayna M. Iyer said...

This was the first thing of yours that I read which was not Fanfiction, and I think I fell in love with you right then.


Watery Tart said...

Thank you Jan and my favorite Wench!

Kas, he's learned by now to go with the flow... he can't resist me. Besides, a young college student away from family, is quite different from an Axe wielding Lady Marauder. *snort* Anyway, no worries-we'd love you here!

Natasha-seems to me this identified us as twins, possibly not the spouses, but the reaction to them.