Bone of Contention

It’s all quiet after the storm. The storm that could have grown bigger had it not been time to drop Nick to his tennis class. The kind of storm that usually eventuated in them not talking to each other for days. He is relieved that it didn’t go that far this time.

It began with a small issue when he forgot to switch off the bathroom fan after use. What followed was a series of generalisations — about him… ‘forgetting is no excuse’, ‘always leave a dirty basin after morning brush’, ‘never pack lunch for kids’, ‘always buy more alcohol for guests than required’, and so on; and about her… ‘never put lid on containers’, ‘usually leave dress on the bed’, ‘can’t do multi-tasking’, ‘spend freely but never log on to internet banking to check finances’, and so on.

She will be away for the next couple of hours doing weekly grocery shopping after dropping Nick. It’s time he did something. Something to ease the situation.

He loves to cook and thinks that’s the best way he could take some pressure off her. He’ll cook as much as he can in two hours so she need not worry about food for the first few weekdays at least. This would let her devote more time towards writing, something she likes to do but never gets enough time for.

He opens the fridge to see what key ingredients he can use and is immediately repelled by the stink of rotten flesh. He shuts the door back. What was that? Ah it was the lamb bone that was left from last weekend. He had kept the bone after removing flesh from a portion of lamb leg. He thought they could use that to make lamb stock. Making stock out of residual bony pieces of meat was in fact her idea. He had thought he would implement that during the week. That never happened. And she was complaining already, “It will ruin everything in the fridge in a few days. What’s the point of leaving something for future that you can’t do?”

Nah, that’s the first thing he needs to fix. Holding his breath, he takes out the bowl containing the bone and empties into rubbish bin. He then washes the bowl thoroughly with extra soap to get rid of the stench.

It’s time to have another look at the fridge. His eyes brighten on seeing a fresh portion of lamb leg tightly wrapped in clear plastic. His cheeks balloon as the jaws manufacture a big smile.

He prepares a mixture of spices and yoghurt in the bowl he had just washed. Then carves lamb leg into small bite-size pieces ideal for curry. He stirs the lamb pieces into the marinate mixture and when ready puts the bowl back in the same spot in the fridge. This time he discards the leg bone in the rubbish, collects all the daily rubbish and throws them in the council bin outside the home.

He goes on to prepare two vegetarian dishes. But he knows his trump card is that lamb marinate. Relieved, he takes a shower when it’s nearly two hours since she left. He is chuckling to himself imagining how she would be pleasantly surprised to see the marinated lamb in place of that rotten lamb bone. He even starts dreaming about night time reward he will get for this act.

Loud noises emanating from the kitchen breaks his dream sequence. She has arrived. But what is she yelling at? He quickly wipes his body, covers his bottom half with bath towel and gets out of bathroom.

Her yelling is amplified at the sight of him, “Don’t you think you need to tell me what you were going to do while I am out? I mean how stupid you could be! You cut the lamb, marinated it and then placed it in the same bowl and at the same exact spot? How am I supposed to know that? When I was putting vegies in the fridge, I didn’t find much space and then saw that bowl. I thought it still had that goddamn bone. I was so annoyed I didn’t look inside and threw everything into the bin.”