Today, my husband of nearly five years, my true love of nearly ten, tried to kill me and run away with an unnamed Publix deli worker.

Now 2017 has been two months of marital misery, I’ll grant you that. We’ve weathered forty-eight sleepless nights, several spells of stomach flu, three cases of the common cold, a bout of pneumonia, and now, today, the coup de grace: attempted murder. Yes, 2017 has gotten off to a rocky start, that’s for sure. But I never would’ve suspected my Korean-Italian-Slovenian man mountain was capable of something like this.

He tried to choke me.

But first, some back story…  Every morning, for years now, my husband has made my lunch.  Aw, you say.  What a sweetheart, you say. And I would’ve agreed with you. Until today. Today, I unwrapped my sandwich, tucked innocently into a plastic baggie inscribed with a not-so-innocent (upon further review) “love” note — but more on that later — and commenced to chow down. I was hungry and distracted from grading stacks and stacks of essays on the symbolism of malaria within The Poisonwood Bible.  Now, chalk it up to all that grading, along with months and months of toddler-provoked insomnia, but I had already chewed three-quarters of the way through my lunch when I realized that the turkey had a strange, dryer-sheet quality. I gagged. I retched. And from the back of my tonsils, I fetched a razor-thin piece of parchment paper clinging stubbornly like a second skin and threatening to cut off my oxygen supply. My life flashed before my bulging eyes: My four beautiful, exquisitely perfect children – even the two who never sleep. My football coaching husband with a passion for making my lunches and doing the laundry and dishes. He’s always been so eager to please and ever-ready to lighten my load. Suddenly it dawned on me. I understood. It had all been a ruse. He’d spent five long and languid, nearly perfect years slowly and methodically laying the blueprint for a foolproof premeditated hoagie homicide.

My hubby in shining apron was trying to off me. And then it all became clear. The sudden switch from peanut butter and jelly to deli salami and turkey. The furtive glances toward the Boarshead counter as we wheeled our buggies past every Sunday.  My husband had plans to marry his mistress/accomplice, the Publix delicatessen artisan with the dancing brown eyes and the lacy hairnet. They’re in it together. But I digress…

Behold the lunch note I promised — Exhibit A:

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Notice anything interesting about that note?  Here, allow me to interpret. I am, after all, nothing if not an excellent purveyor of prose analysis.  Sentence structure and semantics are my specialty.

“Here’s hoping for sleep.” Hmm. At first, nothing seems amiss. I had assumed my dearest partner meant that hopefully — potentially — tonight we would find that sweet nocturnal nourishment of the soul that is so sacred and scarce ‘round our homestead of late. Upon further review, however, consider the following. In Hamlet – a work he knows well, as it is one of the plays I teach and pontificate upon at least twice a year – sleep does not mean sleep. It means to “shuffle off this mortal coil” as in, to put an end to all troubles and hardships.

So he meant sleep in the oh-so-Hamlet sense of the word! Of course! How could I have been so naive!

And then, there’s the little business of the acronym, “ILY.” Previously, I would’ve sworn on a stack of bibles he was professing his undying love for me. Instead, I now believe it to be some Korean-Italian-Slovenian pidgin for RIP. How could I have been so obtuse!

I’m sure his deli counter princess is really a pro when dealing with a nice firm Italian salami and is far better at customer service than I could ever dream of being.  Not only that, I bet she even makes her own sandwiches–  and would probably make his too.

Still, do you think she can truly handle sleepless nights and stomach flus and common colds and surprise bouts of pneumonia like a pro?  Does she have the patience to handle the plagues of Job? And does she know the whole one is one and two is ten proverb? Like, does she REALLY, TRULY understand?

I know he does. I know he gets it. Which is why he makes my lunches and does the laundry and the dishes and vacuums the living room rugs and brings me surprise biscuits. And why he always takes his turns on night duty. And calls me up just to tell me he loves me. And sends me special notes in my lunch sack every single day without fail.

And maybe he didn’t truly try to kill me.  Maybe it was an involuntary manslaughter attempt. An accident, if you will. And maybe this Publix deli girl with the sassy eyes and provocative hair net doesn’t actually exist. Maybe she’s a figment of my over-used and sleep-deprived brain. It was my idea to switch over to turkey and salami this week, after all.

Because, you see, my husband gets it. I know he does. And I get it too. Which is why we work so hard to make it through the hard times still in tact and in love. We are quite the partnership. Quite the wiped-out –- physically- and psychologically- and immunologically- speaking, twin parent partnership. And quite the husband-wife partnership too.

He slays me. In a good way.

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