Ante Raised

“She’s at it again!”

Sarah watched a group of delivery men trying to carry a huge refrigerator from the truck to Gemma’s doorstep. Without a doubt, the new appliance was larger than the one she bought yesterday.

“It’s just eight in the morning and your face creases as if there’s a shortage of gossip on TV,” Larry jested, knowing fully why his wife fumed. “Don’t tell me you’ll buy a bigger one.”

“Don’t start with me,” she kicked the leg of the table, jarring everything atop it. “She does not know where to stop.”

“You should be friendly with her,” he suggested amicably. “That way your competition will be over. It hurts, you know. My pocket has full of holes.”

Sarah was not laughing. Her husband could afford her extravagance. It’s her neighbor who couldn’t.

“I am sure she took another credit.”

“Jimmy is a hard worker. He needed cold drinks. I think it’s just a coincidence she bought a ref.”

Larry toyed with her every time he had the chance. He could see she was thinking of something to upend Gemma’s victory. It would be short-lived though.

“Are you siding with them? You should be helping me go over this.”

“No, honey,” Larry backtracked. But he knew it was too late: he gave her an excuse to fight back using his wallet. Ouch! “Come on, cool it. Buy groceries. Fill the ref. That should do it.”

“It’s not enough,” Sarah’s eyebrows nearly connected, her brain tried to recognize which item she could not match. “Give me your credit card. I’ll think of something.”

“You are overreacting, dear.”

Larry’s dream of buying a new motorcycle went out the window. She would shatter it completely with another major purchase.

“I was working then, earning my own money,” she reminded him, “but you said it would be best if I stay at home and be a simple housewife.”

Here we go again, Larry silently swore. He had suspected the past would be refreshed in his memory especially when she was confronted with his resistance.

“Is there anything more I can do?” he asked bitterly. “Do you want me to get a loan or something?”

Sarah kept her serious face on, the facade worked every time. Inside though, she was overjoyed with the notion she would win the contest without a sweat.

“Be a good husband,” she said finally. “That’s all I ask.”

Larry did know what to say. His wife’s martyred look always made him feel guilty even to pamper himself with a little luxury. A new pair of pants, perhaps? His job was to make her happy. Period.

(to be continued)



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