We had been bickering all day and, for that reason, on most Saturdays we go our separate ways. It gets like that when you’ve been together for what seems like an eternity. Zach spent most of his time in the backyard with the dog and a ten-foot-tall pile of wood and bamboo that would eventually become something that makes noise. I spent my Saturday planting flowers and contemplating cleaning the bathroom. Usually by the day’s end we come together to eat dinner and argue about what to watch on TV. Lately, Zach likes foreign films with subtitles (who knew?). I’m more partial to sitcoms I’ve seen a million times. One thing is for certain. Whatever we watch, Zach will be snoring ten minutes in and I get up and go to bed. This is our life, day in and day out.
Just like every Saturday, Zach suggested we watch a movie. I counter with, “You’ll just fall asleep.” He says, “No I won’t” and he fades away into slumber. Instead, in a rare show of unity we watched “A Man Called Otto.” If you haven’t seen it, I’ll summarize – A grouchy man, played by Tom Hanks, torments his neighbors because he is sad his wife died.
Having known a little about the story, I thought I was prepared for what lay ahead. I was not. About a quarter of the way in we were already misty eyed. Zach, put out by all the emotion, commented that “I really knew how to pick movies.” Halfway though, I stopped eating my dinner. How could I eat when Otto was so sad? And of course, to add insult to injury, there was a sad cat in the movie. I don’t do well with sad dog or cat movies.
Three quarters of the way through the movie, we were both crying. We managed to make it through the entire movie, and I’ll admit I spent the credits sobbing. I was sobbing for Otto, his friends and for that stupid cat. I was sobbing for what inevitably will be our future. Unless we both get swept up in a tornado on the same exact day, one of us will eventually be without the other and I guess I needed to hear that from Tom Hanks.
Hit with that reality I sat in my chair and let out a wail that made Zach laugh. He got up from the couch and walked over and hugged me. A whole day’s worth of bickering and fighting washed away, thanks to Otto and that sad cat.
I woke up the next day with a little more perspective and a renewed love for Zach. I made him waffles with strawberries and watched Zach eat with Otto’s lesson still heavy on my mind. Then he did it, that irritating thing he does with the butter knife. I brushed it off and went about getting ready to go to town. With everything packed up and both of us heading for the door, Zach did what he always does. He turned around and went to the bathroom, leaving me waiting in the car. I can’t tell you why that irritates me so much, but it does, and Otto be damned, I wanted to kill him.
It all comes down to this: I can’t live with him, and I certainly can’t live without him. I can only hope that that tornado I mentioned before sweeps us both away at the same time before he has time to leave and go to the bathroom.