I’m in the midst of watching Scenes from a Marriage, the new limited series that examines moments from a fictional marriage (and is based on the classic series by filmmaker Ingmar Bergman). It is intense, emotional, and incredibly dramatic so far.
That having been said, the title itself started me thinking about my marriage to B. and the scenes you might find us in on any given day. Intense? Sometimes (but also intensely funny a lot of the time). Emotional? Sure, but whose marriage doesn’t include those moments. Incredibly dramatic? Only when someone (okay, me) runs a bit amok. To wit:
SCENE – The Kitchen, Middle of the Night
He: (shuffling in, barely awake) What are you doing?
Me: (removing my head from one of the kitchen cabinets) Just trying to find the parchment paper.
He: The what? And why do you need it at 3 a.m.?
Me: I want to make scones for us.
He: For breakfast?
Me: No, for later this afternoon. But I couldn’t sleep so I thought I’d get all the ingredients together. (Moving around pots and pans to see if the parchment paper is hiding behind them)
He: (a bit grumpy) You woke me up with all the rattling around.
Me: (head in another cabinet, this time rifling through bottles of extract looking for vanilla) Hmmm – what? Oh, sorry. I didn’t think you’d hear me out here. Let me just find a few more things and then I’ll be done.
He: (checking out the kitchen counter already covered with bowls, cookie sheets, measuring spoons, flour, sugar, etc.) Is all this necessary right now?
Me: (a bit defensive) I thought this would be a creative project for me given that I’ve never baked these before. Don’t you want me to find new creative outlets?
He: Sure, whatever makes you happy. I’m just wondering why it has to make you happy in the middle of the night – can’t it wait until morning? (Looking around, fully awake now, and curious. Uh-oh.) Why do you keep those bowls in that cabinet? Wouldn’t it make more sense if they were closer to the stove?
Me: Because I like the red bowls next to the blue bowls and there’s not enough space in another cabinet.
He: But if you just move a few things around … (proceeding to empty out two cabinets and rearrange them) Isn’t that better?
Me: But now the bowls aren’t near the drawer with the measuring spoons.
He: Okay. (More stuff piling up all around him as he tries to make order of out what’s now quickly becoming chaos) How about now?
Me: Now I don’t know where anything is because you’ve emptied my entire kitchen onto the floor.
He: I’ll sketch out a plan. (Grabs a pad and pen and proceeds to diagram the entire kitchen cabinet and drawer system, indicating what should go where. According to him.)
Me: (looking at the sketch) Nope.
He: What? Why not?
Me: (shrugging) It just doesn’t feel right. It doesn’t flow.
He: How can you say that? Everything is close to where it needs to be for maximum efficiency.
Me: But it’s not pretty. It’s just not the way my brain works. I like the red mixing bowls next to the blue mixing bowls with the yellow-and-green salad dishes nearby.
He: But you don’t use them together. I don’t see why –
Me: (stamping my foot because it’s late and now I’m tired) You don’t have to see why – I’m the one who uses them all and I want them the way I want them!
He: But this way is more logical and will make it so much easier!
Me: But it won’t make me happy. (Sniffling) You just don’t understand me.
He: What are you talking about? It’s just a few mixing bowls.
Me: JUST A FEW MIXING BOWLS? Are you minimizing what’s important to me? Forget it, I don’t want to make the scones anymore.
He: (trying hard not to roll his eyes) I think that maybe you’re overreacting here. (Takes one look at me and realizes he’s headed in the wrong direction) No, not overreacting. What I meant to say is that maybe you’re overtired right now and should just try to go back to sleep.
Me: (more sniffles) Now you just think I’m being silly.
He: No, no, I don’t. Really. (Calculating how much more sleep he can realistically get if he wraps it up right now and realizing the answer is zero) I think you’re adorable. And I think you’re tired. And I think this is going to end up in a blog post which, to be honest, would have been a quieter way for you to spend the time in the middle of the night.
Me: (already headed back to bed, trying not to trip over my bunny slippers)
SCENE 2 – The Kitchen, Several Hours Later
(B. has replaced everything exactly the way I had it, with all the scone necessities sitting neatly on the counter. Including the parchment paper.)
Me: Aww … thank you for doing all this, honey. And you found the parchment paper! Where was it?
He: In the drawer over there with the pizza pan and the extra potholders. Why you keep it there, I have no idea. But if it works for you, it works.
Me: (innocently) That’s the drawer with all the stuff starting with “p.”
He: (doing a doubletake) Ri-i-i-i-ght. Okay then. Just one more thing before you head into sconeland.
Me: (eyebrows raised questioningly)
He: You know I don’t like scones, right?
Me: (dumbfounded) I didn’t know that!
He: I guess after nearly 25 years of marriage you really don’t know me, huh?
Scene. And heard.
©2021 Claudia Grossman