You know what Mr. Handsome told me the other night? He said if he had a choice between rubbing my back and taking me off life support, he would choose the latter.
We were in bed and I was going through my nightly ritual of begging him to rub my back (he has the most marvelous back-rubbing hands—strong and large, dry and rough—it’s the best of both worlds, a massage and a back scratch), and he was going through his nightly ritual of saying no. It’s the stupidest thing, him saying no, because he (almost) always begrudgingly rolls over and “ma-scratchers” my skin.
He ought to know by now, after all these years of matrimonial bliss, that I need him to massage my back. I fall asleep so much easier after he’s pummeled all the tension out of my shoulder blades. And I maintain that the back rubs make me healthier and happier—his scratchy strong hands invigorate all the sluggy cells in my back, therefore making me more alive, vibrant, and cheerful.
Taking all that into consideration, you would think he would simply say “Okay, honey,” because he would know that he was making a wise investment. He’d think to himself, If I just help her relax, she’ll sleep super-well and then tomorrow she won’t call my cell phone whenever she gets the least little bit stressed…because she won’t be getting as stressed, thanks to this measly thirty-second back rub I’m giving her right now. It’s such a simple thing, really. I’m so glad I can help her out in this way.
But no, that’s most certainly not what he does. What he does say is “NO,” every single time, sometimes even as he is starting to squeeze my neck. It’s a neurotic compulsion, this negativity of his. Or maybe it’s a coping device.
In any case, the other night after the ritualistic request and denial, he did eventually commence to massaging. I purred, “This is wonderful, honey. Thank you, mmmm. You do realize, don’t you, that if I ever fall into a coma, you have to come to my bedside and give me lots of back rubs—mmmm—and foot rubs and hand rubs—mmmm—and leg and arm rubs. Okay? Mmmm?”
And Mr. Handsome said, “You mean I can’t just pull the plug?”