A Domestic Treasure
Once upon a time, during the course of my second marriage which was… well… a learning experience that lasted 23 years, I happened to find myself “window shopping” in a lovely store called The Peasant Shop. My husband and I did not exactly have money to burn and we certainly weren’t in need of the kind of fancy domestic housewares that were a specialty of the Peasant Shop chain but, for whatever reason, I decided to go inside and explore.
The staff was both polite and respectful, letting me know that I could let them know if I had any questions about anything so I felt free and unpressured and roamed around, admiring the upscale dinnerware, kitchenware, silverware, etc. I’ve never been one to hanker after fancy stuff… which, considering my usually practically non-existent budget was helpful but that day… for whatever reason… a napkin caught my eye. It might have been the colors, or it might have been the clear evidence of the woven fabric… I’d been a fabric design major in college, though I’d never done anything with it… but this napkin… it seduced my eye and won my heart and I knew, price be damned, I had to have the set of four, so I purchased them with the last of the cash in my purse. I could never let my husband know how frivolous I’d been.
Because I could never let my husband know how frivolous I’d been, I hid them in my lingerie drawer… and there they stayed for the duration of our marriage which turned out to be another four or five years or so. I got to visit them and wallow in their beauty every once in a while, and that was enough for me. Then I discovered, purely by accident, that my husband, too, had been secretly spending our money and had been spending waaaaay more of it than I could have imagined. He was spending it on online pornography featuring “teen-age girl-on-girl” action. That came as a bit of a shock. Then some other off-line indiscretions surfaced.
The marriage began deteriorating, eventually dissolving. I moved away and took my precious, unused napkins with me. I lived alone for a couple of years, still treasuring my secret stash, never even using them just for me. Then, by accident, a few years later, I met - and fell hard - for another man. I’d never intended for that to happen. I had plans to live the rest of my life in blessed oneness… but as it turned out, as we got to really know each other, as I became sensitized to the fact that he, too, was a very sensitive human being, when he asked me to marry him, I agreed and, at our very private wedding-night dinner at home, I brought out the napkins.
We use them now, every evening and, after 14 years they are beginning to show their age… just as we are. I treasure all of that.