The wife is on a mission to re-organize the pantry. She lined up mason jars across the counter, tied key labels around them with twine, labeled things: Basmati. Black beans. Barley. She filled the jars with the contents of the twist-tied plastic bags heaped on the shelf and stacked them back in the cabinet, labels facing forward.
Now she opens the cupboard just to look at them, and smiles.
She is a young wife, and has not yet gotten used to the word. She has never been a wife before. She thinks being a wife has something to do with keeping fresh flowers in the house, shaving her legs every day, wearing nighties to bed instead of boxers and tank tops. Her married friends tell her this will change. They mean that she will go back to shaving her legs every other day. They tell her this is the “honeymoon phase.”
The husband is older than the wife, but not by much. He has never been a husband before either. He thinks being a husband has something to do with the car the wife drives, letting her pick the restaurant, listening to her talk on the phone with her mother without complaining. His friends tell him to not let the wife get fat.
The wife is a piano teacher. Her students come to the apartment and touch the keys with their fingers, ask if it is right. The wife smiles a closed lip smile when she is very pleased, and an open lip smile when she is just regular-pleased. She tells her older students to write their own songs and listens with narrowed eyes as they play them for her.
It’s good, she will say, but too predictable.