I’m sitting at home these days, because my visa currently forbids me from working. This is the state of affairs until my appointment on the 18th of October, and after all the wedding hullabaloo and traveling halfway across the planet for honeymoon, I find myself a bit bored. So I’ve been cooking. Yesterday I made a bunch of jam tarts as we had a lot of jam and the husband is rather partial to them. As it was my first time making them, the jam/ pie crust ratio was all off, but he liked them well enough anyway that he took some to work today. I was pretty proud of that, both because I take pride in my ability to cook well and because it was nice to feel like the good sort of little wife who bakes things for her husband. Sickeningly Donna Reed, but even so.
One of the side effects of this project though was that there were now a bunch of personal sized jam tarts cluttering our very tiny kitchen. So we were staring at them last night trying to decide how to store them, when suddenly the husband (he so needs a better nickname) goes into the bedroom and emerges with a tin which I vaguely remembered seeing, incongruously, in his wardrobe. He cocked an eyebrow and said to me “Many moons ago, the Princess gave me this with some cake inside.”
The Princess is a girl from his romantic past, who basically whinged about how there were no nice guys out there, and when my husband presented himself (as he is a nice guy, though likes to pretend that he’s not), she grew coy and said that oh, they were just friends. This earned her the nickname the Princess, because she was always on the hunt for Prince Charming.
I hate this girl. I hate her in a super catty girl way that I’ve never felt towards any other girl before. Let me be clear: I’ve never met her, and she only barely knows I exist. When the husband and I first got together last year she was in the habit of randomly messaging him, because she didn’t have his attention anymore. (In my defense that was the husband’s assessment of the situation, not my own.) He did take an opportunity to crow about his good fortune, and I was smugly glad. Because, I cannot reiterate this enough, I hate her. Even though the most I’ve seen of her is her facebook photo.
In reality I ought to be grateful to her. If she had been a wiser woman and realized that my husband is a pretty awesome guy, he’d be her husband and I’d be moaning about my singledom still. But even with this knowledge I have never wanted to have one of those scratching girl cat fights with someone so much. Ok, maybe I’m exaggerating. A bit.
Bizarrely, I’m also kind of fascinated by her. I want to grill my husband about her, but he’s not really one to dwell on the past. But I want to know more, so I can get angry–I think because there is a loyal streak in me, and if you hurt someone I love, you go on my list. But also, I think she is the female embodiment of the hurt I once faced, when I hung off my first and only boyfriend while he grew steadily more disinterested. Nothing is as painful as indifference.
So you would think I’d grab this cake tin and run to hurl it off the balcony, but I had a curious reaction of blandness to it. He pried the lid off and I saw that he had never actually washed the tin, because frosting was still stuck to the top. After having an “I live with a *boy*!” moment during which he shrugged at my disgust and proceeded to start filling the tin with jam tarts, I remarked something else.
“That cake had icing on it,” I observed.
“Yes,” said my husband, still busy trying to fit all the tarts in, and failing.
“But you hate icing.” I am desperately trying to learn his food likes and dislikes, which run along a set of obscure rules understood only by him and his youngest sister, who is apparently like him in that regard. They go something like this: he doesn’t like cheese, except when melted on a Tuesday that’s a full moon. It would be a lot easier if he didn’t like cheese. I do remember that he hates icing, much to my chagrin because I love it. I had also gotten heat for putting a layer of buttercream in the middle of a Victoria Sponge I made last week. According to him it should have just been jam.
“Maybe back then, I pretended I loved it.”
I thought about this, and it gave me an odd sense of comfort. Clearly my husband and the Princess did not have a real relationship. He didn’t even feel confident enough to tell her his preferences, he was simply grateful for the gesture. I suppose I could go on a little rant here about how I get grief instead of gratitude, but I don’t really. He’s just honest, because he feels safe enough. (And he’s not exactly without kind words either, to be perfectly fair.) But he can be honest because what we have is real and permanent. There is no need to beg for favors or attention, or be grateful for whatever scraps we get. It made me think–we’re good for each other, because he shows me who he is. And because I listen enough to know not to put icing on anything.
So he went on filling the tin he got from the Princess with tarts I had made, which struck me as symbolic. And it was symbolic of the fact that I won.
Oh, and also that we’re much better off in this relationship, which is why it’s the one that stuck.
Get it? Stuck? Jam? Old icing? Omg, I just made a pun. My husband is rubbing off on me.
For my husband, who is probably rolling his eyes at the fact that I turned something stupid into something significant: this is what you get when you marry an English major.