… back into our living room, where a commercial replaces the football game on TV. I have three minutes to get his attention, tell him what I want to say, and get a response. Not a lot of time, but it’ll have to work. It’s all I’ve got. His buddies will be here soon for the next game. I lean over the back of the couch and kiss his neck.
Jack, holding the remote control like a maestro, tells me, “Your timing is impeccable. Make this quick, okay? This is an important game.”
“It’s a commercial,” I say.
“You know what I mean.”
I don’t say anything, waiting for him to look at me.
“Go ahead. I’m listening,” he says, eyes glued to the tv screen.
“Jack, come on.”
His jaw muscles work as he mutes the tv turns to face me. He forces a smile, says, “What’s up?”
“I’ve been thinking I’d like to paint the extra room.”
Jack frowns. “And?”
“And,” I begin, feeling defensive. “In the interest of keeping the lines of communication open, I wanted to make sure you’re okay with that. And maybe you’d like to help me pick out a color?”
“Yeah, sure,” he says, eyes drifting back to the models on the beer commercial.
“Don’t you want to know why?”
“Why I want to paint the room?”
“I’m—” I begin, placing a hand over my abdomen.
He turns his head toward me, but his eyes stay on the screen. “You’re what?”
“Spastic?” He cracks a smile and winks at me.
“Not funny,” I say through clenched teeth as I walk away.
“Oh, come on. I was kidding,” he says, reaching over the back of the couch for me. “Hey, where you going?”
“I don’t know,” I say, already out of his reach.
“Hey, if you’re going to a store, will you get us some more chips and beer?”
I don’t respond. I’m in the garage, getting my bike off the rack…