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Essays by Karen Anderson: Togetherness

Illustration by Kacie Brown

The way my husband fixes his breakfast toast has begun to annoy me. “You could save time if you toasted the second two pieces while you’re buttering the first two,” I tell him.

“I’m not trying to save time,” he says.

He also uses too much jam. Who needs so much jam? And who is this shrew inside my head? Hearing her familiar voice, I know it is definitely time. In fact, it is past time for my husband and me to enjoy a few days apart.

Marriage is the hardest relationship in the world, I think. Being a parent isn’t easy but the whole goal is to separate, for the child to grow up and leave.

The goal of a marriage is to grow up and stay. But sometimes the secret of staying is leaving for a little while. That’s why I’m alert to the toast factor. When I start feeling annoyed by the way my husband eats his breakfast—or breathes in and out—I know it’s time for some space.

Fortunately, he is planning a trip. And almost as soon as he is out of the driveway, I can feel myself falling in love again. A feeling I want to enjoy by myself for a few days.

Karen Anderson contributes "Essays by Karen Anderson" to Interlochen Public Radio.