Should I Stay or Should I Go?



“Honey,” Peter says, “have you been into my sock drawer?”

It is after 6 PM, and we are running late for dinner. Peter has booked us a table at a fancy restaurant, French and Pompous could be its name, I don’t know. They will cancel our reservation if we are not there by 6:30 PM.

“No,” I say, “why would I go into your sock drawer? You have told me many times not to.”

That is true. Peter likes his socks in order, not only by color but by function, thickness, and age as well. I am not yet at a skill level where I can be trusted to get that right. The next relationship performance review is in March, so I will have to see.

“No reason,” Peter says, “It is just...I had some in here, and now I can’t find...”

From behind, it looks like he lost the head on his 6’4” frame, and only his arms are working, moving the sock balls from the right to the left one at a time not to mess up his system.

“Darling,” I say, “you are aware that you are already wearing socks, right?”

He blew in the door at 5:33 PM and announced that he was going to take a three-minute shave and a two-minute shower to leave himself five minutes to get dressed and have us out the door by 5:55 PM, so I better stand back and stand by. At this point, we are teetering on the threshold of a code red crisis that for once isn’t my fault.

“Yes, of course, I’m aware,” he says, “It’s not socks I’m looking for.”

I sink deeper into the chair next to our bed, fully dressed, ready to go, my evening clutch in my lap, looking at him go through the drawer for the seventh time. Then after time eight and nine, I say,

“Aren’t we gonna be late?”

He stops to look at his watch.

“Oh, fuck!” He says. “Well, never mind then.”

He slams the sock drawer shut and pulls on his tie to loosen it, after which he unties it and rolls it up, so it fits in the tie box on top of the drawers. He then takes out his cufflinks and puts them in the designated box. The shirt comes off too, but rather than fold it up, he just puts it on a hanger with his work suits and stomps out of the bedroom. That is how I know he is angry. Happy Peter folds his shirts.

You see, Peter is never late. As in never ever. He would rather not go than show up late, and there are no exceptions to the rule. That was a little difficult to explain to my parents after we missed their 25th wedding anniversary by an estimated six minutes.

Speaking of weddings, I get up from my chair and walk over to open the bathroom door that has our robes on two stainless steel hooks. I slide the hand into my robe pocket and grab the little turquoise box with the 1.03-carat diamond engagement ring and transfer it into my clutch. I’ll take it to the pawnshop tomorrow. That is easier than saying no.