Men Who Eat Plums

A few mornings ago, Aaron was pretending to give me an ultimatum and I was pretending to cower, except he was wearing shorts and his old-man slippers and I nearly broke character. On his way out to teach third graders how to sing “Hey, Rock Candy!” and insisting that I must like his beard like a good wife, he said he understood he was just a stereotypical man. And this was so funny to us.

When we had Clara a year ago, there were some dark moments that usually involved some late night bellowing with the words “I”, “can’t,” “do,” and “this”on my part and some frightened “what has happened to my wife” looks on Aaron’s. People, it was hard. I had no idea how possessive over my time I would turn out to be nor how much I liked quiet car rides and routine bed times. Nearly every day, we had to work at understanding.

If I could advise women in search of monogamous bliss, I would say this about the following man:

This Is Just to Say

by William Carlos Willams


I have eaten

the plums

that were in

the icebox


and which

you were probably


for breakfast


Forgive me

they were delicious

so sweet

and so cold.


He probably wasn’t eating those plums in his old-man slippers, but if he was smiling when he wrote the note, it might be okay. She might wake up and say “Really?,” and he might say teasingly, “Sorry,” and because he is smiling, she would smile back. I’m convinced most relational discomfort fizzles in the face of laughter. I think once you laugh at yourself, you never go back.

He says, “How come whenever I knock the lamp on my bedside over, I think it’s your fault?”

Having thoughtfully rearranged the bedroom so he has his own reading lamp and nightstand, she smiles, “You’re welcome.”

And they feel it–they feel that moments of frustration are always about to tip and spill over into a reflective pool of comedic self-awareness.  I like jumping in that water. It’s cold but delicious, and full of forgiveness.



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