I only have eyes for you, Dear. Whether you like it or not.

One busy weeknight while chewing the last bites of pork chops and boxed macaroni and cheese, I asked my husband, “Did I tell you about my conversation with the sixth grade math teacher today?”

Gnawing a particularly tough piece of meat, my husband shook his head with a familiar glazed look in his eyes. After 18 years of marriage, he knew that I could take a good 20 minutes to describe cleaning the fuzz out of the lint trap, so he settled into his seat and braced himself for excruciating detail and superfluous analysis.

“Well, I called him about the semester project,” I continued, “and do you know what he said?”

“No. What.” my husband robotically replied, staring blankly into space.

I went on, in great detail, to describe a mundane event in my daily life as a stay-at-home Navy wife and mother of three. However, many years of housewivery had taught me that I could give our regular dinner conversations a stimulating dose of drama and suspense if I merely embellished my otherwise ordinary stories with exhaustive descriptions, exaggerated voice intonation, and vivid facial expressions.

I told my husband all about my phone call with the math teacher, but it came off more like a thrilling off-Broadway play. During a particularly expressive point in my story, my husband, tired and irritated after a long day and a mediocre dinner, interjected sardonically, “Oh, please, do that again with the bulgy eyes. That’s really attractive.” Fully intending to add insult to injury, he mocked me by imitating my Marty Feldman-like eyes, while I sat, stone-faced, glaring at him.

Although his deep-set eyeballs could never mimic the natural prominence of mine, my husband nonetheless contorted his face to look as ridiculous as possible. As I watched his discourteous display and doggedly gripped my fork on that weeknight at the dinner table, our entire marriage passed before my genetically protuberant eyes.

What’s happened to us? I wondered. We used to be so lovey dovey, and here we are pelting each other with insults over Shake & Bake. Is our marriage hopeless? Does he think I’ve become unattractive and annoying? Well, I don’t recall anyone dying and making him God’s gift to women. Hrmph.

Bitter, I finally interrupted his facial contortions, “So, who are you over there, Robert Redford or something?” With blatant hypocrisy, my husband took immediate offense to my sarcasm and scowled.

We sat in silence, sucking the macaroni from our teeth and avoiding eye contact.

Unable to remain mute for more than a minute, I spoke weakly without looking up from my plate, “I can’t help that my eyes bulge, you know.”

My husband’s irritation was suddenly replaced with sincere remorse. “Oh, Honey, I’m sorry,” he said, moving in closer and placing his hand on mine. “I don’t think your eyes bulge. I think you’re bulgy in all the right places.”

His awkward flattery softened my ire, and I released the death grip I had on my fork. Glancing up from the remains of my pork chop and into his deep-set eyes, I realized that, even if we get a little mad from time to time, we’ll always be madly in love.

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13 thoughts on “I only have eyes for you, Dear. Whether you like it or not.

  1. Joanne May 10, 2012 at 9:02 am Reply

    That was wonderful! I felt like I was sitting at my own dinner table. I’ve been through so many of those stories with my husband who swears I have a real knack for making a ‘short story long.’

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  2. energywriter May 8, 2012 at 5:05 pm Reply

    So funny! And touching too. Great blog, Lisa. You’re a lucky woman.

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  3. lauriebest May 7, 2012 at 9:38 am Reply

    I’ve always believed that family (husbands and kids in particular) provide writers with the best material for their grist mill. You have just proven my point again! Very funny!

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    • Lisa Smith Molinari May 7, 2012 at 9:42 am Reply

      Oh yes Laurie, you are so right. My husband in particular is a bottomless pit of material!!

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  4. rich May 7, 2012 at 9:12 am Reply

    we have to occasionally answer which we love more: people or pictures?

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    • Lisa Smith Molinari May 7, 2012 at 9:17 am Reply

      DEEP …. I think?

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      • rich May 7, 2012 at 9:19 am Reply

        sometimes. we get absorbed with images instead of identity. i recently was told that someone i’ve been very close to for about 8 years would likely not be speaking to me for a while. the reason was because of something she heard that i did from an extended person. and then that extended person asked her, ‘really? what’s he ever done to you? yeah, maybe he did something wrong to someone else, but he’s been nothing but great to you and your kids and your family. but because you heard he may have done something wrong, then you won’t speak with him anymore? really?”

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        • Lisa Smith Molinari May 7, 2012 at 9:39 am Reply

          Don’t lead us to water and not let us drink. What exactly did you do? Perhaps your friend who won’t speak to you has a particular sensitivity to the kind of thing you did to someone else?

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          • rich May 7, 2012 at 9:41 am Reply

            my friend was in a weak time and wanted to feel superior to others, so she told friends she was “done” with me. her life isn’t going well, husband left her, and she searches for reasons to push others down.

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  5. kinetikat May 7, 2012 at 2:35 am Reply

    “Bulgy in all the right places”!! Aww! And LMAO.Trust a guy to say something so sweet and simultaneously hilariously awkward!
    Great pic of the fabulous Mr Feldman, by the way – can you do that thing where the eyeballs go in different directions too? (Mind you, I think he had a head-start because of divergent vision…)
    Also… “unable to remain mute for more than a minute…” Bahaha! The painful truth. I must go back to previous months’ entries to read more of your stuff, you are exceptionally funny. Thanks for a great start to my Monday early morning!
    Sue

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    • Lisa Smith Molinari May 7, 2012 at 9:18 am Reply

      No, unfortunately I do not have the talent to make myself go “wall-eyed” but maybe with practice…. I see you must have some sort of experience with marriage, because you seem to feel my pain and be able to laugh at it too!

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