I twirled my scrambled eggs on my fork. “Honey, I need to tell you something.”
Marianne set her toast down, “Huh?”
“Have you noticed I look exactly the same as when we first married?”
“I didn’t notice.” She scrunched her eyes and cocked her head. “But I guess you do look younger than me now.”
“I discovered an antiaging compound about 10 years ago.” I pulled a baggie of white powder from my pocket. “I can’t imagine life without you. Will you join me?”
She was eager for the powder to be sprinkled on her eggs. Who wouldn’t want to live forever? Living with no fear of death, no time clock ticking, a healthy body, and having your whole life to try anything and everything you ever wanted to do was too tempting.
Thirty-some years later at breakfast Marianne broke our silence. “Honey, we should share the powder with the world. It’s terrible to keep it a secret.”
“I thought about that years ago. It would have made us rich, I’m sure.” I dipped my toast in my egg yolk. “But I’m a little afraid of how it would change the world and I’m unsure if I’d want to live in that world.”
“You are being selfish.” Her words had a sharp tone that escalated as she continued. “Think of all the sick people it would help. Creative geniuses that could continue to create. Brilliant scientists who would uncover something extraordinary.”
Selfish? Perhaps there was some truth to that, but I still felt my body tense and ground my teeth. How dare she call me selfish? She was selfish too. “Why did you take the powder?”
She put her fork down and clenched her hands into fists. “Because I wanted to be with you!”
I pushed my food away and left the kitchen. This began many years of fighting. Her noble causes and noble thoughts ate away at my soul. I was selfish. The more time passed, the more I was uncomfortable around her because she made me feel like an awful person.
Many years later.
“It’s our 150th anniversary today,” Marianne sighed over her eggs and toast.
I was sick of eggs and toast. I had them every way possible. Tabasco. Cream cheese. An array of seasonings. “Yup.” I shoveled in a bite and choked it down. I had nothing else to say. We’ve talked about everything already – two or three times at least. The truth was I was sick of everything – including my wife. I wondered if she was sick of me too. I even missed the days we fought, there was passion and emotion. Now I felt empty. Our conversations were nothing more than cordial passing words. I wondered if I’d be better off alone.
Five years later, I finally developed it. A way to counteract the eternity powder. “Honey?” I called. “I have something to show you.”
“What is it?”
I held up a baggie of light yellow powder. “The antidote. Are you sick of living forever?”
She laughed, “Not when you consider the alternative.” She returned to her TV show.
I shrugged it off. “Are you hungry?”
“Yeah, I am.”
I went to the kitchen and fixed some eggs and toast – sprinkling half the powder on one plate. The rest of the powder I secured in the baggie in my pocket. I would put it somewhere safe. I sat down on the couch next to her and handed her the plate of food. We ate together in silence. I realized how content I was. I didn’t need thrills. Despite the ups and downs, I truly loved this woman. It was that moment, while eating our eggs and toast, I realized that being completely comfortable with someone was something not to take for granted.
Ten years later, I wiped the steam off the bathroom mirror and rubbed my hands through my short hair and examined my skin. I never thought how excited I’d be to notice gray hair and wrinkles. The rest of the pale yellow powder was packed away, someday Marianne may want it.
Written by: Joy Schultz
Photo By: https://morguefile.com