Ben and I were cleaning the kitchen this morning after making pancakes. Mae had a friend spend the night so instead of the din of the usual three kids, we had four sources of sound. The kids had been released from the breakfast counter and were headed down the hall, yelling and stomping. I was wiping down the griddle and Ben was putting the milk back in the fridge when somehow, over all that racket, I heard him sigh.
In an effort to comfort, I said, "Do you remember that we have a date tonight?"
"Didn't you just hear me?" he asked as he shut the fridge.
My hand paused above the griddle. "What'd you say?"
"I asked what we should do on our date tonight." He grinned as he picked up the butter.
I stared at the griddle, sponge poised above it, trying to piece together the previous few minutes. "When did you say that?"
"I was over at the sink." The butter landed in the door compartment.
"Did I answer you?" By now I was searching his face, wondering if it was really this bad.
"I don't know." he said, hand to his forehead. "Maybe I just thought it."
I laughed and returned to the griddle. "It's like that, isn't it?"
We've been together for twelve years now. I know him better than I've ever known anyone - at least anyone I haven't birthed. We have to communicate around children's fists, shrieks, blood. When we're together, most of my thoughts are voiced to him. In the melee, it's become almost impossible to know what we've actually said and what we haven't. Sometimes I repeat something three times. Sometimes I forget to say it all. It's not because he's not important to me. Quite the opposite. It comes from being belly down in the foxholes.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why dates are a good idea.