1. patient endurance of hardship, injuries, or offense; forbearance

“What do you think we should do?”

Petra hated it when her husband talked to her from behind his newspaper.

“About what,” she asked, indulging him while refusing to look up from her fitness magazine.

She ripped another page from the glossy publication, trying not to hate the remaining 15 pounds of baby weight around her middle as she stared at the toned women. With the page wadded in a ball she shot it easily into the recycle bin by the kitchen door.

“Your mother’s birthday?”

Noel folded the paper and placed it on the kitchen table. He sat with his hands crossed before him, leaning in as if he was prepared to engage in peace talks. And in a sense, that’s exactly what he was doing. Her husband and mother had a love-hate relationship in which her husband wanted his mother-in-law to love him, but she consistently refused.

“My mother’s birthday…”

Petra continued to flip through the magazine noting the five best ways to stretch after running a marathon. She scoffed at the idea of even being able to run a marathon.

“Yes, she turns 65 this year and I was thinking what if we surprise her with dinner or a party? What if I offer to pick her up and take her out for a little dinner with us, but we really

She unsuccessfully tried not to laugh at his chimerical plan.

“What? Why are you laughing?”

“Sorry, babe. But my mother hates you, remember?”

This was true. Even after six years of marriage, numerous Christmas presents, and a namesake grandchild, Evan had yet to receive Mariel’s love and admiration. And he still wasn’t sure why. He’d asked Petra on numerous occasions and had even broached the subject with Mariel, but she’d always glared and waved him off, preferring to sip on her drinks rather than talk to him.

“And besides, we should probably save that for her 70th or something, you know…one of her bigger birthdays.”

She appreciated her husbands longanimity, but was hoping he would lose interest in the topic and his crazy quest for her mother’s acceptance. Petra flipped through a few more pages, wanting to rip out each one.

In disgust, Petra launched the entire magazine into the bin, rattling the glass containers within.

“You’re beautiful,” Noel said sincerely, rubbing the back of her hand.

He knew her moods and insecurities too well.

She scoffed loudly at his comment, internally thanking God for a husband who actually loved her body and was incapable of seeing her cellulite.

“Let’s do something quiet for my mom this year, nothing too big,” Petra said, stealing a few pages of his newspaper to read, grateful for words instead of smooth images. “I can do the planning and you can take the credit.”

Petra stretched out her legs, resting her ankles on her husband’s knees.

“And don’t worry, at the very least, she’ll love you on her deathbed–that’s something she would do.”

Noel picked up the remaining pages of the Sunday paper, pretending to read again while plotting ways to make the surprise special enough to earn Mariel’s love. He rested a hand on his wife’s ankle and pondered the use of confetti, streamers, and bribes of more grandchildren.




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