Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Tact

     Amber stumbled through the front door of her new suburban house with a cardboard box so big she couldn’t see around it. She kicked the door closed behind her and dropped the box in the middle of the living room. It blended well among dozens of similar boxes.
     “There!” she said, wiping her hands on her worn out jeans. “That’s the last one. Now we can start unpacking.”
     “Let’s take another look around, honey,” said Darren, who was already wandering through the empty space. “We have all weekend to unpack. Why don’t we explore our new home first?”
     Amber smiled and gave him a kiss on the cheek as she took his hand. They walked together through the dining room, the kitchen and the laundry room before heading up the stairs.
     “I can’t believe the size of this house,” said Amber, entering the master bedroom. “It must be twice as big as our old place on the south side.”
     Darren nodded. “Two thousand square feet more. Perfect for starting a family.” The comment earned him another kiss.
     Amber walked into the hallway to check the other bedrooms. “I can’t wait to go shopping. We don’t have nearly enough furniture to fill this space.”
     “I’m glad you brought that up, dear.” Darren pushed ahead of her to enter the next doorway first. “Because I think we should discuss what we want to do with this bedroom.”
     “I thought we already agreed it would be an office space.” She walked around him to look in the closet.
     “Well yes, that was suggested,” Darren said. “But we should consider all our options before we decide for sure.”
     Amber gave him a sideways glance. “What do you mean? I need a home office to work.”
      “Of course you do, dear. I’m just saying, maybe there’s something more important we can do here. For example, we could turn it into a yoga room or a game room. Or maybe it could be used to showcase—I don’t know—a collection… of sorts.”
     Audrey shook her head. “We don’t do yoga and we don’t play many games. And we don’t collect anything.”
     “Well,” Darren said. “Suppose one of us started collecting something.”
     “Like what? Stamps or coins? You don’t need a whole room for that.”
     “No,” he agreed, “but maybe for something bigger, like—well, just off the top of my head—swords.”
     Amber put her hands on her hips and stared him down. “Why on earth would we collect swords?”
     Darren shrugged. “Who knows? We probably never would. Except maybe one of us might be surfing the web one evening, very late at night, and come across an article on sword collecting. And maybe that person—it could be either one of us—might just start browsing Ebay for fun to see what kind of deal he—or she—could get on a collectible 19th century Japanese katana blade. And maybe, just maybe, that person might come across a bulk lot of seemingly priceless swords that were ending in an auction in only thirty seconds and that person realized he or she wouldn’t have time to check with his or her spouse before bidding because it would mean missing the opportunity of a lifetime—“
     “Just how many swords would be in this bulk lot?” She crossed her arms and started tapping her foot.
     “Oh, I have no idea… since it’s all hypothetical. Let’s say… one hundred.”
     “One hundred!” she repeated.
     “Or two hundred,” he said.
     “Two hundred!” she repeated.
     “Yes, three hundred.”
     Amber stopped repeating him. She also stopped tapping her foot. Instead, she just stood there and gave him a glare that burned a hole through his head. “If you’re about to tell me that you just bought three hundred swords with our savings—“
     “What? No, no,” Darren said, shaking his head. “I didn’t do that.”
     “You didn’t?”
     “Of course not! I would never buy three hundred swords with our savings. They would be sharp and dangerous, and not suitable for a house that will soon have an innocent little baby in it.”
     At those words, Amber’s heart softened and she moved close to hug him, nuzzling her head in his shoulder.
     “You had me scared,” she said.
     “Honey, you should know me better than that. I would never buy three hundred swords.” He patted her back. “I mean, imagine how horrible that would be. Buying swords would be way worse than, say, buying parrots.”
     She laughed at the thought. “Yeah, I guess so. Three hundred parrots would be much better.”
     “I’m glad you agree,” he said, giving her a loving squeeze.
     Before she could respond, the sound of a large truck engine came through the window and grew louder until it was apparent the vehicle parked right outside. When the engine cut off, an overwhelming squawking noise took its place. Amber looked up at Darren, then darted to the window.
     Yep, Darren thought to himself, I think I handled that quite well.

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