I had gotten up early to prepare croissants for my Barnard College book club meeting. I baked, I dressed and was heading out the door, just when the gardener showed up, an hour earlier than expected.
The night before I had given Handsome Hubby (HH) a list of “to do” tasks to review with the gardener. HH had dutifully set his alarm for the expected arrival time. Yet, here was the gardener 60 minutes ahead of schedule and I needed to leave. What to do? I woke HH, who zombie-like lumbered out of bed.
Back in the car, I buckled my seat belt, adjusted the mirror and opened the garage door. I was inching the car out of the garage when I looked up. There was HH gesturing wildly for me to wait.
“Yes?” I expectantly and lovingly asked, opening the car window as he rushed to the side of the car.
How sweet, I thought. He wants to (a.) kiss me goodbye (b.) compliment me on how cute I look (c.) tell me to have a nice time and/or (d.) ask when I’ll be home.
“You forgot the croissants,” he said breathlessly.
“Huh,” I replied. “They’re right here next to me.”
“What about all the ones in the house?” he asked excitedly.
“Those are for the family,” I replied.
“Oh, wow,” he replied even more excitedly.
And faster than you can type the words ‘out of here,’ he pirouetted 180 degrees and bolted back in the house. Misty Copland of the American Ballet Theatre could not have executed the turn with such speed and precision. No good-bye. No thank you. No “Have a good time.” No kiss. No “hasta la vista, baby.” No nothing. Nada.
I honked the horn once. Twice. Three times. No response.
Oh, well. Oh, hell. I left for my meeting.
The book club session was stimulating. The gals were great. The discussion was lively and informative – apparently, women can talk, think and eat croissants at the same time. I left feeling enlightened and uplifted.
Then I returned home, to a kitchen counter covered in crumbs and a platter with just half of one croissant remaining.
HH was seated at the kitchen table, a pile of newspaper sections (and croissant crumbs) surrounding him. “Hi, honey,” he murmured without looking up, without wiping the crumbs from his much-in-need-of-a-shave cheek. “How was your meeting?”
“Fine,” I harrumphed, starting to stomp down the hall.
I thought of Sunday mornings long gone. Nobody rushed out of bed for breakfast or book club meetings. Nobody cared about the newspapers or what chores had to be completed. And by “nobody” I mean Handsome Hubby or me. The days of youthful romance had clearly passed.
I thought about my romantic parents who had eloped in their teens, and even in my teens, went around the house singing “Kisses Sweeter than Wine.”
Perhaps one day HH would pen a ditty about his true love … something along the lines of “I love Karen. She’s OK, but what I really crave are croissants. Now they’re hot, each and every day!”
I returned to the kitchen, aka the scene of the crime, I mean, crumbs.
“Actually, I’m not fine,” I said. “You hurt my feelings when you ran into the house, more excited about the prospect of grabbing croissants than kissing me or saying good-bye.”
“Huh?” he said, peering over his readers.
“Uh-oh, what did Dad do wrong now?” asked my son emerging from his room.
I regaled him with the details of the entire heartbreaking “Croissants vs. Kisses” saga. As always, he was like Switzerland, neutral and balanced. He took no sides, neither defending his father nor seeking to minimize the pain I felt.
In the end, my son did offer me a “glass half full” perspective. “Look at it this way, Mom. Dad’s given you something new to lament about for your blog.”
And with that wisdom of a child, he grabbed a piece of the croissant and retreated to Switzerland, I mean, his bedroom.
And as for my “secret” croissant recipe? Look no further than the freezer case at Trader Joe’s. It’s a killer croissant. Some people, in fact, say it’s better than a kiss!