My wife talking to the insurance company. The kids and I get in the way.
|Shhh, everyone down in the foxhole. Keep those heads down, goddamnit! My wife is on a rampage. This rampage changes my wife from an understanding partner to someone with eyes that often get random twitches as her anger crests to her breaking point. Long conversations that are filled with a rich vocabulary and logical conclusions are quickly replaced with words like “Quiet!” and “I want to speak to your manager.” The best the kids and I can do is to stay out of the way, to hunker down and pray to whatever God that we think may help us. |
She's on the phone with an insurance company. Which one? We have no idea and the kids and I have decided that it's unimportant. It's a detail that doesn't help us deal with her snapping fingers and her snapping glare. I just know that her patience is being tested and I can hear her getting angrier by the second. Every time she says "Don't transfer me," I see her fill with anger like a volcano fills with lava. It's going to blow on someone and my job here is to make sure the kids and I aren't the poor villagers. Actually, it’s all about me; the kids are secondary. I have no shame, the kids owe me. She can't divorce the kids.
"No!" she says. "Don't put me on hold." She sighs and then the eyes fall on me.
I keep writing, my head down. This is the most interesting story I have ever written, yup, just gonna keep on writing here. Oh, look, funny jokes. Let's make more funny jokes. Don't look up, don't look up, don't look up.
I look up.
I get a glare and I'm not even sure why. I'm not the insurance company nor one of their agents. I'm just a husband sitting in a chair trying to find a story to write about. I'm about to become what is called "collateral damage."
"Shannon," she doesn't finish. I’m not sure what is going on but I'm spared. She starts talking on the phone again.
She's ripping into someone now and that's good. My four-year-old comes into the room screaming and I don't know why. I rarely know why but he's four. He likes to scream and he likes it better if there is an inopportune time; it’s something about My Little Pony or the state of Israel but honestly, who knows.
My daughter comes down the stairs to see what the screaming is about. I had sent her upstairs when I saw how the phone call was starting to go. I tried to spare her but her naivete brings her back.
"Dad, I want a..."
She doesn't get the sentence out because now my nine-year-old son runs in. When you are in quicksand it just gets worse when you struggle and I'm about to struggle pretty damn hard. He is running quickly and mows over the toddler. This is my house; a Nascar race with high-performance machines on the track but also the Amish.
Vesuvius blows and it blows in a whisper.
My wife begins snapping her fingers furiously like she is trying to break her thumb. She is holding the receiver of the phone away from her mouth because I'm assuming that what she is saying, she doesn't want witnessed. There are soft hisses coming from her mouth and I know we are all screwed. The only thing worse than Mom screaming is Mom whispering. That's where the big trouble is, that is when nations crumble, in the whisper.
I don't know what she is saying but I think it's probably, "I'm going to murder all of you then dance on your cold graves." Or something like that.
I grab the kids, put them under my protective wings and fly upstairs. At the top of the stairs, I begin answering questions, kissing elbows, and explaining that we should be quiet so Mommy (can't find us) can get some work done. "Do you guys have a death wish? Seriously, what was that? You’re going to doom us all!" I say.
My wife gets off the phone and I can hear her stomp to the bottom of the stairs.
"Shannon!" my wife yells, the sound echoing off the hallway stairs.
"Yeah?" I squeak.
"It's time to do our taxes!"
I look at my kids. I love them very much. I touch my youngest on the head, I smile at my daughter.
I give them the best advice I can now, the only thing I can think of.
"Fly, you fools!"