As soon as he sat the take-out bag on the coffee table, I attacked it like a woman possessed.  I unloaded the contents, one by one.  Hushpuppies. Check.  Jumbo box of fried clam strips. Check.  Wait.  Something was missing.  I rummaged down to the bottom of the bag.  Nothing.

“Where’s the cocktail sauce?” I tried to keep my voice even. Don’t panic.

His eyes widened. “Its not in there?” I could tell by his tone that he already knew where this was going.

I raised my eyebrows and shot him a look. Seriously? I was in no position to joke about food.

He shifted nervously. “I’m pretty sure we have some in the fridge. Let me go check.” He was trying to escape.

“No! I don’t want that cocktail sauce. I want their cocktail sauce. The good stuff.  Its the best.  That’s why I asked you to get two containers of it!  That’s why I ask for two containers of it every damn day.” I could feel the tears coming.  I couldn’t control them.  I hated feeling this way.  I knew it was irrational but I could feel myself spiraling out of control.

He sighed and gave me a look. That look. The look that meant he was mentally calculating exactly how crazy I was. And how he could get out of this situation without me completely melting down. It was like tiptoeing through a minefield.

My sweet husband, God bless him.  This had been a long, hard pregnancy.  The food cravings had been horrible from the beginning.  I would obsess over a specific food item for a week or two and then move along to something else.  And none of these cravings were healthy foods.  Toasted ravioli.  Nachos Bell Grande from Taco Bell.  Arby’s roast beef.  Cheeseburgers from Burger King.  Frosties from Wendy’s.  And in the third trimester, hushpuppies and clam strips with cocktail sauce from Arthur Treacher’s.  Trash, all of it.  But my hormone-riddled body begged for it.  I needed it.  Or at least I thought I did.  I felt like the world would end if I didn’t get my fix.  I was really at the mercy of the hormones.  And so was he.  And he knew it.

And afterwards – after the fat and grease-fest – when I would feel guilty for eating it and lament about being the worst mother ever, he would listen to me cry and comfort me.  I know he secretly counted down to the end of the pregnancy when his loving, normal wife would return, no longer being held hostage by hormones and pregnancy aches and pains. (Sidenote: little did he know that postpartum hormones are no picnic in the park and that sleep deprivation is the devil. But I digress.)

So I watched him stand there, assessing me.  I watched him weigh his choices and the consequences.  After several moments, his face softened and he smiled.  He crossed the room to where I sat and placed his hand on my swollen abdomen.  He kissed me softly on top of the head.  He picked up his keys and he left to make a return trip to Arthur Treacher’s.

I suspect that getting out of the house alone for fifteen minutes was just as big of a motivating factor as his concern for my mental stability.

Inspired by the Daily Post Mouths Wide Shut