Friday, February 26, 2010

Unresolved Issues

Copyright 2004 - Bruce Gaughran
Rev. 3 - October 2011

Shane’s stomach growls.  It was 7:00 PM and the aroma of supper was missing from the air again this evening.  As he walks into the kitchen, he sees Sarah sitting at the table knitting.  He looks around and doesn’t see anything cooking.  “What’s for supper, Sweets?”

Sarah has been waiting for this moment; without looking up she responds, “Whatever you fix is fine with me.”

Sarah’s comment is the last thing Shane wanted to hear.  As far as he knew, he had not done anything to upset her recently.  She was post-menopausal, so that shouldn’t be an issue.  She normally doesn’t have wild mood swings, so it can’t be depression or anything like that.  Frustrated with the whole situation, he snaps back in anger – probably a more harsh than he wants, “This is the third night in a row you haven’t made supper, Sarah.  What the hell am I being punished for this time?  Or, is it just that you don’t cook anymore?”

Sarah places her yarn and needles on the table and looks up.  Even though her insides churned, she attempts to look calm and comfortable.  “Shane, I didn’t mind waiting on you hand and foot while you were working the last forty years, but you are retired now.  It is about time you took a little responsibility around the house.”

Shane feels the heat build up in his face and knows he is turning crimson red.  For a moment, he just stands there speechless, but his anger and frustration are too great to ignore.  “Sarah, I have just about had enough of this crap!  Either you make dinner right now or I am going out to eat.

Sarah, knowing her husband’s every move, has anticipated his response.  She smiles, rises from the table, and as she walks towards the door she remarks, “That sounds great, Honey.  Where are we going?”

WE,” Shane emphasizes, “are not going anywhere.  I am going out by myself.  A beer and a ‘brat’ sound awful good to me right about now.”

Sarah stops.  “Oh, all right then, would you mind bringing me home something?  Between the laundry, house cleaning and paying the bills today, I haven’t had a chance to eat anything since breakfast.” 

Shane thinks he can hear little sniffling noises.  He shakes his head as his anger begins to melt away.  “There you go again.  Every time we try to have a decent discussion about something, you end up crying.  You know we can’t get anything resolved when you get like this.”  He walks over to her and wraps his arms around her.  “Come on, Sweets, let’s go get something to eat.  How about I take you to that Mexican restaurant you like so much?”

Sarah turns into him and places her head on his chest.  She knows she mustn't retreat now.    She wipes her nose and eyes with a tissue.  “You know, Hon, this doesn’t solve our problem.  I still don’t believe I should have to cook for you every day as well as do all the chores now that you are retired.”

“Sarah, I just don’t understand this change in you.  We were so happy before I retired.  What happened?”

“We both have changed, Honey.  We’re both getting older and I need some help around the house.  I just can’t keep up with everything like I used to.”

Shrugging his shoulder in defeat and acceptance, he smiles sheepishly, “Okay, I still don’t understand the cooking issue, but I agree we need to talk this through.  Perhaps I can help out with some of the chores.  But, can’t we just go out for a nice peaceful dinner first?  I’m hungry.”

Sarah hugs him a little tighter and looks up into his eyes, “Okay, as long as you agree to talk about it when we get home.”

Shane smiles in relief, “Agreed.”

As they head out the door, both know that the issue is far from being resolved.  This evening’s discussion will not be the last on the subject and won't be any easier the next time.


  1. This sounds quite familiar, my wife and I have had similar conversations.

    You have done a great job with this writing.

    The flow is smooth, very nicely written,
    and enjoyable reading.

    Thank you for writing and sharing it.

    God Bless,

  2. I like the way you captured the dynamic of the relationship in your story. Nicely written. I enjoyed reading this!



  3. A real nice practical story. Could happen to anyone. Maybe me too. I like the way you wrote it. I'll look at your other stories just as soon as my wife makes dinner for me. I hope.


  4. A nicely written piece about a very interesting idea, a topic I've never really given much thought to before. This piece definitely made me think about how things could be in the future. I also like the way you portrayed both your characters here, showing the love even through the anger. Nicely done. Good work.


  5. I thought this was great!

    I think this is a really good insight into what happens when old people retire - after all, like Sarah says - "I still don’t believe I should have to cook for you all the time now that you are retired.". I bet that's a common issue, where the wife decides it's time she puts her feet up (or the husband, whichever way round it is) and the husband can't decide.

    I like the feeling that this situation will go on, not just about that issue, but about others, as it would in real life, this i sjust a little snippet of how their life is changing.

    Well done.


  6. More truth than fiction..I loved it. Only a one nit from my POV - in the second sentence I would delete ' something.' Also the 'That' beginning the third paragraph. Reword it, delete it, maybe connect it to the last sentence somehow. 'That's' muddy up writing from my perspective.

    I loved the scene, the scenario, the dialogue. Great job.

    OnWords & UpWords


  7. What a hoot. I can see me doing and saying these very things...when retirement comes.

    I did notice that you had both present and past verb tenses in this piece. You started out with past tense, then switched to present. I would change that.

    Thanks for sharing.



  8. Excellent story, I enjoyed the way Sarah had learnt how to play her hubby to the full....LOL!

    There were a few things which could possibly do with a little work:

    That was the last thing Shane wanted to here this evening. ('here' needs to be 'hear')

    Sarah had been waiting for this moment for some time, without looking up she responds, “Whatever you fix is fine with me.” (I find the difference in tense a little strange here, it says she 'had' been waiting and yet she 'responds'...might 'responded' work better? There is a lot of this mismatching throughout the whole piece)

    Perhaps the mismatching was intentional, initially I found it hard to read but after the first few it certainly became easier.

    I like stories like this, I look forward to reading more of your work.

    Feckless Wench


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