Shopping with Ruth




Photo Credit Rpwen

My Wife Ruth

My dear wife, Ruth, loved me. I know because she ended every sentence obsessively with the words, “love you”. I am sure this was a subconscious reflex on her part, however it destroyed my attempts to win any debate with her or even argue sensibly. How could I when she would nip the air with, “I don’t think so. Love you”. Subconsciously my mind would respond, “hate you”, an endless repetitive dictum which over decades developed into a fantasy of plotting her demise.

She ruled our marriage with a precision of lists and with specific order of events, jobs to be done, programmes or films to watch, books to read and friends who had to be to called. I couldn’t agrue since birthdays and anniversary listed on the calendar made sense. However, she was oblivious to the standing jokes by her colleagues in the library or even the obvious mimicking from the milkman, “I’ll add whipped cream to the list Mrs Cornice, love you.”

It was the Saturday shopping list that haunted me, the nightmare of them all. She had a different list for each Saturday of the month and then repeated it every four weeks. Washing powder on the first Saturday, cooking oil second Saturdays only and so it went on. The meticulously planned route through the supermarket would ensure all the items were collected in the correct order. Every item was placed into the trolley and subsequently removed to ensure the receipt provided proof of correctness and corresponded line for line on the list. Ruth was distraught when the layout of the grocery aisles were reorganised. She told the manager it was unthinkable, love you.

However, today, I was ecstatic by shopping on my own and without a list. I wandered around as random as bee in search of pollen. I ignored the sliced bread normally on every list. I avoided the fish counter, a third Saturday item, instead I collected a bottle of German red Dornfelder wine – never on any list. I thought, what would she say if she knew about my lunch; a large cut of Italian ham, succulent moist and delicious on crusty French bread. For dessert, a sweet mango and a pineapple, two items I would normally pass by to collect the oranges on her fruit list.

Toiletries were bought only on Wednesday’s when she would shop alone. I was treated to the same bar of shaving soap. But today, well, I added shaving gel and a new Gillette razor, because yesterday, I had sharpen and used my old open razor for the very last time.

Oh, I do still love my dear wife, but her obsession for lists and ritual precision certainly lead to my unbearable frustration, no children and psychopathic madness. At least I now know she was absolutely right how premeditated thought towards a perfect plan complete with check lists ensured every eventuality was considered.  I could never fault her idealism and application of order with her doctrine of neatness. That is why I know; no one will ever miss my dear obsessive wife or ever discover where she has gone.