According to Tolstoy, “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”
Marriages are like that, too. Relationships of all kinds. I could have written dozens of novels based on past unhappy relationships but my relationship with my wife, a happy, healthy, respectful relationship, leaves me with a decided lack of drama to filter into my fiction. Is that why I’ve struggled to complete a novel lately? Still, we’ve had some pretty dramatic exchanges and I think I might be ready to write a romance novel.
My wife walks into the kitchen, winking slightly at me as she reaches into the fridge. “I’m going to make some barbecue beans.”
I glance back at her, my attention still half-focused on the bowl of potatoes in front of me. “That will go well with the smashers and ribs.”
She’s wearing her rust-coloured hoodie, the one that goes so well with her warm, autumn complexion. “Do you think I should use maple syrup instead of honey?”
“I mean, maple syrup instead of sugar.”
“I still say yes.”
She rustles in the refrigerator, grabbing jars of ketchup, mustard, and apple cider vinegar.
I finish cutting spots off the potatoes and put them into the instapot bowl. Gordo, our 17 pound cat, saunters into the room and jumps on top of the chest freezer.
I hold the bowl of potatoes toward my wife, frowning slightly. “Does this look like enough potatoes or should I put another…?” The cat meows and I interrupt myself. “He wants a treat.”
“That’s enough. We don’t have to have massive leftovers with every meal.” She takes a piece of cat kibble from the giant container on the floor and carries it to the cat. Placing it in front of him, she turns back to me, smiling as he eats it. “He knows it’s his own kibble, but he doesn’t care. He just wants to feel special.”
I add a potato to the pot and set the timer. “If we have leftovers, we can make potato pancakes or something.”
She’s still petting the cat. I wipe my hands on a towel and slide past her. “I’m going to go to the bathroom and when I come back, maybe the coffee will be done.”
She looks up. “Are you going to poop?”
“No, I just have to pee.”
“Then the coffee won’t be done when you get back.”
Crushed by our argument, I shuffle into the bathroom. Despite my fastidious care in washing my hands after I pee, the coffee isn’t done when I get back. She pats my hand and doesn’t say I told you so.
And there you have it. A real-life romance story – with sexual tension, dramatic tension, and a cat. I’m going to start outlining chapter two.