Every new technology makes it harder to live together. His first thought, on seeing the summons, was of his wife: had she noticed it, was what he thought. She was in the kitchen, reducing wine and lemon juice for scampi. He lifted it from the pile of mail and opened it alone. The only witness was the traffic-speed camera, which hadn’t recorded who was driving, only whose car was speeding, and thus did technology ruin our weekend. He ran both hands through his hair and clutched the back of his head, eyes closed, taking a standing ten-count. “Love notes from traffic court?” is how I opened, not kindly, knowing from his look that he had seen it. “Sonofabitch traffic camera,” he told me, “Well, I’m not paying it.” I thought: “This is who he is.” I slammed the flat of the knife blade onto the garlic clove and peeled away the skin like a paper scab. We didn’t have to pile more points on his sad driving record, he wanted me to understand, and suffer all those penalties. He told me like I might not understand. We could offer mine up; say I had been driving. The wine was bubbling madly in the wok. I had such memories of things I had done to untwist him already. A dozen things I had in mind and not one of them made me love him more. If he had once said, “Do this for me, please, my darling,” instead of “Do what’s best for us,” I would have rushed to meet the judge, and raised my hand, and sworn the truth, and thrown in other lies. “You think about that,” I told him. “You think about what it’s worth.” It took a lot of butter to make the shrimp taste right.

Copyright © July 31, 2007 David Hodges