Common Sense

by Sarah Shotwell

I don’t know how to do much, Honey, but that isn’t why you married me; you married me for my money, and let’s face it, Bob, girls with money don’t know how to do much, but I, on the other hand, I married you because you know how to do everything, and I still remember when I decided I was going to: you were changing the battery in my smoke detector because the thing wouldn’t stop shrieking a warning every ten minutes; it was sending my neighbor’s dog into a barking spasm, and Cal Randall from across the courtyard, in his house slippers and Giants cap with that stupid pipe he never lit, well, he was standing on his balcony yelling Turn that damned thing off or I’m going to have a seizure and then you’ll be sorry—yeah, that’s when I realized it; only, back then you seemed to like helping me with the things I couldn’t do, you know, I’m talking oil changes and wiper blades, stud-finding and picture hanging, polyurethaning this and that—you could to do it all, Honey; you even said you thought it made you feel needed, that it made you feel, at the end of the day, like you were at least bringing something to the table, but now you’re telling me Do some hard work for once in your life and you know, I didn’t get mad at you for saying it; I tried to do some hard work, but all I can think of is the way you looked digging splinters out of my palms with my eyebrow tweezers—all tight-mouthed condescension— because I didn’t know that you’re supposed to wear gloves when spreading bark in the flowerbeds, and you said Everyone knows that Honey and I said Well, I didn’t know and you said It’s just common sense.

Sarah Shotwell graduated from the University of Washington MFA program in Fiction in 2010. She now lives in San Luis Obispo, California, where she writes, teaches high school, and plays keyboards in a band called Fialta.