A good wife cooks well. That is probably the most important qualification for a really good wife, because majority of men can’t be bothered with cooking but still want to enjoy their meals. Good cooking can make a man a slave to a woman.
That was The Lesson One I learned from my Mom.
The Lesson Number Two that I picked up outside my Family’s Treasured Knowledge Chest was that a good wife never says no to her husband. If a wife refuses her husband’s needs he is entitled to satisfy them outside the marriage.
The few other things that make up a wife’s job are: mending, cleaning the house (it includes doing dishes and scrubbing toilet), looking after children, bringing edibles from the market, all while looking pretty, fresh and made-up. If a wife has a job outside the house, she has to do her best not to get fired from that job (her income might be crucial for family’s survival) and not to get promoted (which would distract her from the household tasks).
I didn’t have a proper visa and hence was barred from working in Canada, so promotion was not a problem. My only job was to be a wife.
The cooking, though, turned out to be a problem.
All my men and husbands before Lasse loved oatmeal porridge cooked in milk, sweetened with a dash of sugar. I’d pile it up on a plate and on top of this sweet oatmeal mountain push in a spoonful of butter. Butter would melt and go down the steaming mountain like hot lava. Yumm.
Lasse hated porridge cooked in milk.
– Are you working on my heart attack with all that butter?
He cooked oatmeal in water, then poured cold milk over hot porridge in a deep plate. It tasted hot and it tasted cold, it tasted like oatmeal and it tasted like milk, all separate bland tastes adding to not too much.
The fact that Lasse wanted to cook his own breakfast offended my self worth.
It was MY job to feed him!
We growled, scowled, we sulked.
After the breakfast at 8:45 AM when Lasse left for work another problem became very apparent – I couldn’t stay awake. For some strange reason in Canada 9 hour night sleep was not enough for me. After I did dishes I would lie down on a made-up bed with an intent to nap for 15 minutes but kept postponing getting up. Very rarely I did get up by Noon. It was a paralyzing nap. At 4 PM I finally was able to snap out of the nap and run to Toronto’s China Town to get ingredients for a dinner.
For dinner I would cook the Eastern European wonders – eggplant caviar, fish in sweet cream, goulash, liver pancakes, stuffed cabbage – but when Lasse would get back from work around 7 PM he would look at my food as if he was looking at a roach on a table and would say:
– How about eating out tonight?
I guess, it was because we didn’t have any wine at home. Lasse didn’t know that it wasn’t a wife’s job to get wine. If she got it, the husband might drink it at 9 AM and skip the workday. The wife then would have to deal with the drunken man for the next 6 weeks. I had had that experience before. That’s why I was not getting wine.
Also, in the whole Toronto it was only China Town where I was comfortable buying stuff. Everywhere else things got too strange. For example, when I entered an ordinary deli, a person behind the counter would smile at me. The other person straightening the merchandise on the shelves would turn and smile at me, too. In Latvia or Moscow people would only smile at you if you had accidentally sat in a paint puddle and all your behind was soiled with paint or grease.
I would check if my skirt was soiled. It was not. Now, what are they smiling about? What was so funny, for fuck’s sake?! Smile was a threat, like a gun pointing at me, so I turned around and dashed out of the store, my heart giving a very fast beat to my flight.
In China Town, no one ever smiled at you. It felt right at home. But China Town didn’t sell wine.
So we would go out to dine with wine and my liver pancakes would eventually end up in the trash.
My self worth was going down like price of a stock that no one wants.
The guilt and shame of having my secret 6 hour midday naps corroded the shiny steel plates of my Soul.
I needed a job, a project, or I would sink into Depressive Abyss.
The project, I decided one sunny afternoon while napping, is going to be deciphering my husband.
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