24: He Knows Me Well

24: He Knows Me Well

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Married Life!

He Knows Me Well

One thing you learn in a long marriage is how many sneezes to wait before saying, “Bless you.”

~Author Unknown

Years ago, shortly after my second child was born, I took up swimming laps to get in shape. I bought a Master padlock for my swimming locker. It was a beauty — a brilliant red body with black lettering and a shiny silver hasp. Seems like a strange thing to grow fond of but a red padlock is a whole lot more zippy than one of those plain silver ones. Plus it was really easy to pick out as I staggered around the locker room at six in the morning.

A few years later, we bought a little farmhouse out in the country and moved out of our city house. My swimming habit died out with the distance. My poor lock went into the junk drawer and over time I forgot the combination.

One day, while cleaning up a pile of paperwork, I found the magic numbers. Excited that at last I could once again use my scarlet beauty, I immediately went to the Rolodex and filed the little laminated chunk of paper.

Months later, my daughter needed the lock for school. I nearly cackled in my glee, “I know where the combination is!” and ran to the Rolodex.

I started with L. No combination. I tried M for Master. No combination. I tried C and P too but there was no combination to my padlock anywhere. I went through it again. Not under lock. Not under combination. Not under Master. I absolutely knew I’d filed that slip of paper. I just didn’t have a clue what letter I’d filed it under.

I stomped into the kitchen. Bill was working away at the counter on supper and I let loose, telling him all about how I was certain I had filed the missing combination, and now it was nowhere to be found. Bill got a little smile on his face.

“What?” I said irritated.

“Have you checked under R for red?” he asked.

I rolled my eyes. “Why would I file it under that? That’s goofy.”

Bill shrugged. “I’m just saying maybe you should check under R.”

“Sure,” I said and stomped out again. There was no way I’d filed those numbers under red.

Later that night, I was addressing some cards and had the Rolodex out. Maybe I should go through it one more time, I thought. I pulled up the cards under C for starters. Nothing. Next I flipped through to L. Not a number to be had. Since I was right there in the alphabet, I continued through the M’s. Nope. Bill’s words went through my head, “Maybe you should try R for red.”

Now I knew that made absolutely no sense. But I also knew that those numbers were in that Rolodex somewhere; all I had to do was find them. I flipped to the R’s.

The very first card under R was written in my handwriting. A small laminated form with a series of numbers was taped to the card. In big letters at the top, it said Red Combination Lock.

I walked into the kitchen where Bill was measuring out coffee for tomorrow’s brew. He looked up at me as I came in, eyebrows raised.

“You were right,” I said. “I filed the combination under R for red.”

He started to laugh, which got me started too. Then he gave me a hug.

“How did you know?” I said. “That makes absolutely no sense.”

He went back to setting the timer on the coffeemaker, shrugging as he said, “I just know you.”

Yes, he does.

You know what one of the best things about being married is? If you ever forget who you are, there’s always somebody around to help you figure it out.

 

~Theresa Woltanski

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