What the Truth Is

Truth is, Sheldon wished his wife hadn’t come to Paris with him. The whole drive home the day he found out he’d be going to France for a week-long work seminar, he thought about all of the things he could tell her to keep her from going. He wished she wasn’t so good at saving money, so finances could keep her from accompanying.

But by the time he got home, he had come up with nothing and out of pure exhaustion he told Marie the truth. Before he had finished his sentence, she squealed and kissed him hard on the mouth.

“It’ll be like a second honeymoon!” she said.

They don’t tell you that when you get married you lose your autonomy. Okay, well maybe they do tell you that, but you forget what that all entails. You forget until you take inventory one afternoon and realize your shelves are empty. There is nothing left to take inventory of.

Truth is, Sheldon didn’t want to go to dinner on the first night they were in Paris. He wanted to get to their hotel room, take off his shoes, take off his socks, wash his feet in the bathtub, and then take a long nap. Marie insisted, as Marie has been known her entire life to do, and Sheldon gave in, as Sheldon has taken to doing. Marie found an “adorable” little brasserie down the street from their hotel (her Google skills were much better than her hint-taking skills), and at 8 PM Paris-time, Sheldon found himself sitting in a corner booth with his wife staring down at a menu in English. His wife had managed to find the one restaurant that catered specifically to tourists. Sheldon smirked, which Marie read as a genuine smile. She removed her hand from the corner of her menu and patted Sheldon on the arm, which he subsequently scratched.

After they ordered, Sheldon began eating the bits of baguette set before him. The bits were hard and challenged his jaw. He soon discovered that when mixed with a bit of red wine, the bits went right down.

“Like most everything else,” Sheldon thought.

Conversation was light during dinner. Instead of speaking, Sheldon honed in on every noise Marie made, cataloging each of the discrepancies that had begun surfacing since the wedding six months ago. Among the items he’d collected for his list so far included but were not limited to: Her habit of hanging her own wet towel on top of his own dry towel, her propensity for falling asleep during movies, the way she dragged her feet when she walked as though her heels were her heaviest burden. When Sheldon couldn’t sleep sometimes he would take inventory of these dissatisfactions; it was the only inventory he had left.

A bit of improperly chewed something or other went down Sheldon’s throat at the wrong angle, he supposed, and his throat itched all through dessert. The walk back to the hotel was excruciating, with Sheldon coughing and tasting blood and reassuring Marie, pointedly, that he was just fine.

Truth is, when Sheldon woke gasping for air at midnight Paris time, he made no quick connection between the nagging throat irritation post-dinner to the fact that he could not breathe. He shook Marie awake, who bolted upright and looked about as if to figure out where she was.

“What is it?” she whispered hoarsely, sounding interrupted.

Sheldon couldn’t speak, couldn’t breathe, and after a moment, he couldn’t see, couldn’t remember if there actually was shellfish in the pasta he ordered or if the doctors had ever told him just how allergic he was. At some point soon after, it no longer mattered.

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