Misunderstandings

“Is that it?”  I asked R on the phone that warm, May day.

I couldn’t wait to break the news of my new job to R on the phone.  I was over the moon, had been bursting with the news that I was finally, finally leaving the city for a job teaching 8th grade math in the suburbs.   I had my second interview that afternoon at their Board of Education building and was offered the job on the spot.

I couldn’t believe it.  Finally, finally things were starting to turn my way.  I was married, we were having no trouble meeting our bills, Zachary was doing better in school.  Summer was coming and instead of dreading what was going to meet me the following fall in the city, I’d be teaching only twenty minutes from home in a brand new classroom.   I didn’t care about the pay cut.  I didn’t care about the tenure I’d nearly obtained.  I didn’t care about the seniority and the sick days I was leaving behind.  I felt free, finally free of the uncertainty that had clouded the start of my career.

I’d come home early from my interview, having taken the afternoon off for it, and planned on cooking a fancy meal for all three of us to share at home.  I stopped at the grocery to get the ingredients and called R excitedly at his office with the news to please be on time tonight because we were celebrating.

“Was there something more you wanted me to say?”  R responded to my question.

I was hurt.  I couldn’t believe R wasn’t as excited for me. I’d be thrilled for him if he was leaving a job he disliked for a better prospect.  When I told him I’d gotten the job he said, “That’s good.”  No excited tone, no jumping on his chair, no can’t wait to see you so we can celebrate.  Just, “that’s good.”  I was supercharged and upset that the person who was supposed to be the most excited for me in the world seemed to be the least.

“Well I guess I was thinking you’d be a little more excited,” I answered.  “I mean, you know how difficult my job is, you know how much I’ve struggled with it this year, not even this year, but the whole time I’ve known you.”

“Look,” he responded coolly.  “I’m at work.  Yes, I am happy for you but no, I don’t want to get into a big thing about it right now.  I’ll be home at the usual time for dinner and we can talk about it then, ok?”

Suddenly, I felt stupid.  He was right, I was being overly dramatic.  I needed to get over myself.

“OK,”  I answered.  “Hey listen, I know we have some wine in the house.   Do we have a bottle that we can use tonight to drink to celebrate with?”  I knew that R had a few bottles of special wine that he was saving for the right occasion.

“Oh, we don’t have anything that would be good,” he answered quickly.   “I’ll stop and get something.”

“R, that’s silly.  I know we have like ten bottles in the basement in the wine rack.  Just tell me which one, seriously.”

He sounded exasperated on the other end of the line.  “No, you’re misunderstanding me.  Those are for a really big deal.  I’ll go and pick up something that make sense for dinner on my way home.”

My jaw literally dropped next to the receiver.  “You might want to replay in your head what you just said to me on your way home.  Then you’ll know why you’ll want to find a way to make it up to me by the time you get here.”

I hung up the phone without waiting to hear him answer.  Six months into this marriage and I was really wondering if I’d made the right choice.

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