He'd do the same for me. In fact, he did do the same for me when I broke my wrist and ended up with a plate and seven screws a few years ago. He even tried to wash my hair for me, only we put a stop to that shared activity pretty quickly, because by the time we finished, there was shampoo in his eyes and my eyes and his ears and my ears and up our noses and down our throats, which is why I told him, "Dude. Just so you know. THAT was exactly like getting waterboarded." And he said, "Tell me about it."
Still. I appreciated his willingness to help a fractured girl out.
I did not, however, appreciate the same helpful impulse when I was filling up his car this weekend. My husband poked his head out the car window and started offering cheerful gas-pumping tips, like he was Mr. Gas Hints from Heloise.
OK. I understand that people sometimes forget themselves and make the obvious suggestion. This is particularly true of partners. In fact, the longer couples have been together, the more likely they are to do it. Hey! I've done it myself!
Me (panicked): Don't tell that story in front of our kids!
My husband (coolly): Fine. Can I tell it in front of our mothers?
So yeah. I get how couples are. But just then at the Smith's Express, I wasn't having any of it. I didn't say anything. Instead, I just stared at my husband. And in my Wordless Stare there were many Wordless Sentences spoken such as:
"Do you know how long I've been pumping my own gas, Buster?"
"Where are YOU when I pump my own gas? Answer: Not with me!"
"Who do you think fills my tank week after week? The gas fairies?"
Even though none of these things was actually said aloud, my husband still heard. Oh, yes, America. He heard.
He glanced at my face, hastily apologized, then retracted his head through the open window like a classroom pet turtle who realizes he's soon to be mauled by a bunch of first-graders. And as he did, I smiled in spite of myself.
This is what old love looks like, I thought. We watch out for each other ... whether we need to or not.
Congratulations, Hannah and Irving. May your lives be long and your happiness as wide as an endless Kamas sky.
Ann Cannon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or facebook.com/anncannontrib.