I REALIZED IT when she was asked to work late on Late Mall Night Thursday. No merienda when I got home, no dinner, and no updates on any replacement meals. My response to such a development was telling.
I stared at the empty dinner table, went away for a quarter of an hour doing nothing, and came back to stare at the same dinner table. Repeat process until around half-past nine, when she returned. Mercifully, she brought takeaway sushi and katsudon, which of course I gobbled up, without forgetting to ask why no food was around.
I was taken aback by her response. Anong ginawa mo bago ako dumating Mahal, and in a mock-gesture of indignation pointed out that I should at least be considerate enough to improvise as she did all the cooking : breakfast, straight through lunch and supper.
Truth be told, I had been spoiled rotten since esposa hermosa arrived. Where my diet was limited to McDonald’s , meat pies and mooching from my flatmate whenever I had a craving for Pinoy fare, since Mahal reached NZ shores I could now ask for (almost) anything on the Barrio Fiesta menu, and as long as she wasn’t tired and the ingredients were available (usually soy sauce, cane vinegar, ginisa mix, menudo mix, tomatoes, sinigang mix or ginger) she would readily sashay to the kitchen and magically whip up a dish that made me misty-eyed (and moisty-tongued) for home.
In return, all that was asked was that I complement her tasks, and follow intelligently her tips and cues to make her life easier. By complement I mean this : when she prepared her inspiring meals I was expected to fill the rice cooker (which a first-grader could do) and wash the dishes. If she did the laundry and made every article of clothing fresh and fragrant, it was logical that I would hang them on the clothesline for drying (we don’t have a dryer), and later fold everything for the aparador.
I hardly realized it, but she had taken over every useful activity around the house, devised simple ways to make the latter easier and more efficient, and turned me into a content worker ant in a self-contained colony of satisfying household chores.
And because she’s OCD about toilet being spotless, she prefers that nobody else clean the bathroom and does it herself. Who am I to rain on her parade? Even Kuya Flatmate gets out of her way on that one, especially since the lavatory always ends up looking like a 5-star facility afterward.
Such dependence I sometimes took to extreme lengths, as I told you about in the first paragraph. I no longer went out without her, or at least asking her first. The few times I ventured out alone were to the library (she chooses cooking over reading anytime, who’d complain about that ???) and to look at action figures and McDo Happy Meal toys at weekend markets to update my toy collection (she likes toys even less than reading).
Filling the clothesline, folding laundry, flicking the rice cooker switch, taking out the garbage and checking the mail. Odds and ends, bits and pieces and making sure everything’s in place. For doing these small favors, I get three squares, my stomach’s never lonesome for homeland and homestyle cooking, and did I say the bed’s always warmed up, sheets Downy fresh and pillows patted down? Not a bad bargain.
Thanks for reading !
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