The couple ate at a low Japanese style table. Molly cross-legged. Bill standing. Bill struggled with chairs. This was the compromise they had reached. The meal was mainly vegetables, with a little rice. Bill felt uneasy eating meat. Molly had come to adapt.
“Close your mouth when you eat.” Molly reminded him.
“My mouth is closed… Was closed.”
“I just don’t get it. How is it possible to make some much noise when you eat?”
“The process generates some noise.”
“Well, your process generates more than others.”
“You realise that everyone makes noise when they eat?”
“Not like you. You’re… careless, I guess.”
“Careless? What is that even supposed to mean? You just spend more time with me eating than anyone else. It gives you more time to obsess over it.”
“It’s not an obsession.”
“You seem pretty hung up on it.”
“Well, maybe if I got to go out and eat with other people more often, it wouldn’t be such a problem.”
“You went for dinner with your dad, last week.”
“That’s hardly going out… I mean with friends… People. Normal people.”
“Oh, don’t take it the wrong way. It’s just…” Molly sighed. “With two men like you in my life. I don’t know. ”
“Really? You’re going to draw that parallel again?”
“You know how he is. And, you’ve seen him eating soup. Slurping – then blowing on the spoon. Always blowing on the spoon.” Molly mimed blowing on a spoon, letting the wind whistle between her lips over the imaginary cutlery. “Blowing and then slurping.” She rolled her eyes. “Why so loud?”
“There are only so many ways you can eat soup darling.”
“And you.” Molly hesitated. “Marginally better I suppose.”
“At least I never use a spoon.”
“Mmm… I do wish you would keep your snout a little, cleaner, though.”
“I try sweetheart.”
“You don’t have to get your whole face in there.”
Bill, grunted and backed away from the table.
“Alright, if I am so terrible to eat with, you can finish the meal on your own.” His trotters clacked on the kitchen tiles as he completed the maneuver.
“Oh, come on. No need to be like that. I’m allowed to dream of having some standards aren’t I?”
“Standards?” Bill snorted. “I can only do so much and you know it. You knew it when you married me. I thought marriage was about accepting someone for who they are. Loving them for who they are.”
“Awww.” Molly softened. She liked it when he got worked up. “I’m sorry, Billy. Come here.” She motioned to him.
Bill glanced over his shoulder and sighed. Reluctantly, he sidled across the room and lay his head in Molly’s lap. She stroked his head, running her hand across the coarse bristly hairs of his back.
“I’m sorry Billy.”
Bill nuzzled his snout into Molly’s lap. His curly little tail wagging with contentment.