“Dinner was delicious as always, Robert.”
Bob and Eliza were an odd couple to people who did not know them well. No one understood how their marriage could work or even how they were still together. To be honest, sometimes Bob and Eliza wondered too. They understood better than anyone how different they were and how high the odds were stacked against them. It was very hard at times, but it was the little things that got them through. Eliza was always critical about everything, but it was never a personal attack on Bob. She just liked things to always be perfect and in order, and her strong personality made certain that it was so. However, she always made a point to thank Bob for cooking and compliment his meals; he lived for those moments. She knew his food was important to him, and that was her way of letting him know that she still cared. Calling him by his full name was a sign of respect. Besides, she never liked his nick name.
She lived for the moments when he would call her Lizzie. To be honest, she hated that name. She thought it was too casual and childish. She would never allow him to call her that in public. It was more a term of endearment rather than a nickname, and that is why she allowed it. She knew how overbearing she could be sometimes, and hearing him call her Lizzie was a sign that he still loved her and she hadn’t completely drove him batty yet.
“I told everyone about the meeting tomorrow,” he said.
“Oh, thank you, Robert.”
Mentioning the meeting drew her mind back to Mrs. Jones, and a wave of anxiety crushed on her. It was really envy, but she would never admit to that. “We should get a pool!”
“But…we don’t have room for one.”
She knew that, but her face fell anyway. “We don’t need an olympic sized one. We could get something tiny that we can soak our—OH! A hot tub! We could get a hot tub! No one in this neighborhood has one of those yet! Not even the Pruetts!” The smile returned to her face and she beamed satisfaction and triumph.
It was no mystery that Bob had zero pretense in him, but in order to keep peace in his home, he obliged her as much as he could. This time, however, her desire was beneficial for him as well, and he looked forward to making it happen. “Ok. If that’s what you want,” he said.
She squealed and clapped her hands. “Oh, Robert! This is splendid.” In her mind, she was saying “take that” to the Joneses and the Pruetts. After she had calmed down, she brought up another idea she needed to share with him. “Do you know what else would give us more respect? We should have a child.”
Bob looked like a deer in headlights.
“What is it, Robert? You used to talk about having children all the time. Don’t you still want to?”
“Uhhh…yeah. I was just surprised.”
“Everyone in this neighborhood has children. They’re all part of a secret society that we can’t get into! I don’t think they show us the respect we deserve because we are not relatable. So, in order to become more relatable, we should have one of our own. I think we’ll be excellent parents, Robert. What do you say? Are we going to give this a shot?”
Bob thought his days of becoming a parent were behind him. It had nothing to do with age seeing as how they were still young enough to do it. Eliza’s ambition seemed to take over everything, and he was unsure where a child would fit into their lives. But, hearing about her interest made him happy and hopeful that things would continue to improve in the future.
“Let’s give it a shot,” he said.
She smiled at him from across the table and gave him a nod of approval. There was almost nothing she wouldn’t do to remain on top of the food chain in their neighborhood.