31: I Am a Skeksis

31: I Am a Skeksis

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Devotional Stories for Wives

I Am a Skeksis

By Dena Harris

Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.”

~Genesis 21:6

My husband of sixteen years and I were in the car, driving home after doing a bit of shopping. We’d been chatting about work and family when I turned to him and asked, “So, how are we doing?”

It’s hard to explain the grimace of pain that contorts my husband’s face whenever I utter this simple phrase. For me, the question is a simple way of checking in, like opening the oven door a crack to see how the roast is cooking. My husband, however, greets the inquiry as though he’s just been through a welcome session at Guantanamo.

“We’re fine. I’m fine! Everything is fine! No, not fine. Great! We’re great! Why?” (And here his face contorted in another clenched-teeth grimace.) “What do you think is wrong?”

“I don’t think anything is wrong,” I replied.

“Oh, yes, you do. The only time you ask how we’re doing is when you have something to say about how we’re doing, and it’s something that you think is a problem. Or I’m doing something wrong. So just go ahead and tell me what it is, and I’ll stop doing it. Or start doing it. Or whatever.”

“Nothing’s wrong!” I said. “I was just checking in to make sure you were happy with how we we’re doing…”

“I’m always happy with how we are. I’m a man. I don’t know any better.”

“…and to give you the opportunity to say something, if something needed to be said. Because that’s what a thoughtful and caring wife like me does.” I gave him a pointed look.

He patted my leg. “I’m sorry. It’s just that you have a little Skeksis in you.”

“Excuse me?” I asked.

“You know, the Skeksis from that ’80s movie, The Dark Crystal.”

“Ye-ss,” I said cautiously.

“Well, remember the scene where the main Skeksis approached the Gelflings, Jen and Kira, in the forest and he said, ‘Skeksis friend! Stay! Skeksis friend with Gelfling!’ Okay, so you knew he was lying or had ulterior motives. That’s you, honey.”

“Just to be clear,” I said, “I’m trying to improve our relationship through open communication, and your response to that is to compare me to a large, badly dressed turkey buzzard from a Jim Henson movie?”

“See?” said my husband. “Right there. Total Skeksis attitude.”

“I don’t think other couples have conversations like this,” I said.

“You’re welcome,” he replied.

He has a point. Routine breeds boredom. After sixteen years of marriage, I still never know what’s going to come out of his mouth. It’s part of the fun of being married to him.

Even if he does call me a Skeksis.

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