Saturday, September 18, 2010

Who the hell are you? - Being 60 (week 20 - by Margaret Ullrich)

You think you know somebody.

I mean, we've been together since November, 1968.  We've been married since April, 1972.  I thought I knew every nook and cranny, every little twist of how my husband's mind worked.

Phhttt.  I knew nothing.

I had just finished reading Philippa Gregory's latest historical novel The Red Queen.  I zipped right through it.  Couldn't put it down until I'd finished it.  I love the way she makes History - with a capital H - read as good as a paperback you'd pick up before getting on an airplane.

She's that good.  

So, I handed it to my husband.  Paul had always been a History buff.  He also has this weird memory.  He remembers tons of things.  

Sometimes, that's not so hot.  But you take the bad with the good, you know?

Anyway, he took The Red Queen and said he'd read it.  And he did, every night, just before going to sleep.  A few pages every night.

Well, I had borrowed the Queen for the usual 3 weeks.  Seeing that Paul was about halfway through, I tried to renew Queenie.  No dice.  There's a waiting list.

Something - call it a wife's second sight - made me get on the waiting list to get The Red Queen back into our house.  I'm number 93.

I warned Paul that Queenie would have to go in 2 days.

I thought he'd hunker down and do some serious reading.

The kind a kid does the day before a test.

He just smiled and said it was okay.  He'd just read what he could at his usual pace.  Old Red could go back, unfinished.

I couldn't believe it.

He was up to page 265.  Margaret Beaufort was getting high from smelling the musky holy oil they were rubbing on Queen Anne.

There were only 112 pages - covering 2 years, 1 month and 2 weeks - left.

How could he just return a book, unfinished?

He said he knew how it was going to turn out.

Phhttt.  What does that have to do with it?

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