I want to tell you a story. I’m sad to say that for this tale, the normally amazing and aptly named woman I call WonderWife™ has been downgraded to just “Wife”. No “Wonder.” No “™.” You’ll see why in a bit.
The year was 1993 and a fresh-faced collegiate Geekboy attended his first Phish concert. It was love at first note and the band would soon become one of his favorites. He went to two shows that year and bought a t-shirt at each one. He loved those t-shirts and wore them often. In fact, the shirts were still in heavy rotation when he met and married Wife. Sure they were starting to get frayed, but to him that only added to their romantic appeal.
Wife hated these shirts. She made no effort to disguise her disdain for the aging articles of clothing, and when holes started appearing in the seams of the armpits, her contempt for them voraciously grew. Evilly, she threatened to dispose of them when the Geekboy was out of the house. But common sense and decency prevented her from committing this breech of trust. She knew that these tattered shirts held great sentimental value to the man she loved.
Wife lived along side these shirts for the next few years, her dislike for the band and the garments never yielding. One day, she had an idea. Wife told Geekboy that she would make the t-shirts into throw pillows, so he could keep the sentimental objects but not have to wear them in public, which made him look like a vagabond and scared the neighborhood children. He could keep them safely contained in his study, where, she imagined, he could gaze upon them lovingly and she would never have to see them again. Wife’s prowess with a sewing machine was well known across the land, and the Geekboy knew that this offer would make them both happy. So he agreed and handed over the t-shirts to Wife.
A fortnight passed before he asked her about the shirts. She said that she had not forgotten about the project and would get to it soon. Two years went by. From time to time, he would ask her about the shirts only to receive different answers. Sometimes Wife would say that she’s working on it. Other times, she would laugh and say she disposed of the shirts. And there are times when she would deny ever having been given the shirts in the first place. No matter what the story, Wife never gave the Geekboy any hope that the project would be done. But she was careful to phrase her answers in such a way that she was not breaking her promise to her husband. She just left him wallowing in melancholy, not knowing where the t-shirts were or if they would ever re-appear as the pillows.
He often wonders what he may have done to her to be treated so shabbily. Why does she have such derision for what he loves? What do these missing shirts say about the notion of trust in their relationship? Tragically, as long as the shirts are gone and the pillows unfinished, the Geekboy may never know.
Has your partner ever held something of yours in contempt? Or hostage? And if you feel sympatric to my plight, feel free to heap some guilt on Wife in the comments section. Who knows, maybe I’ll see those pillows one day.