worst case

He’s been reading this book since we got home from the small little boutique just across the street from the bakery and park. It’s a small place that sells a few books, a few CDs, a little bit of this and that. His book is small, he should have been done with it by now and I still have no idea what it’s about. We each bought our own book. I was at the till before him with my book filled with recipes from all over the world. That thing is a brick and I’ll be looking at it a little every day to see if I can’t find new and simple recipes for us to try.

I had just stepped outside when he walked up to the till with this tiny little, bright yellow book. He almost started reading it on the walk home and I had to stop him. He opened it to look inside and was nearly bowled over by a guy on his bicycle. Neither one of them were looking where they were going. At times, I swear.

“Quentin?” Finally he tears his gaze away from the book. I’m not a jealous person, I’m just curious as can be to know just what kind of book he’s been so engrossed in. Sure it’s only been fifteen minutes but he’s never been much of a reader, that’s why I’m so curious.

“Just what are you reading? You’ve had your nose in that book the moment we crossed the threshold, to the point, you nearly tripped on Astra but she moved out of the way just at the last moment.” He looks sheepish for a second and he puts a bookmark on his page, he,s almost halfway through the book, and he closes it.

“It’s a book on survival.”

“Survival.” That’s a new one to me. I don’t know why he’d need a book on survival but if he feels the need I can’t really stop it. He laughs at my parroting and he shakes his head.

“Not that kind. It’s just a kind of ‘worst case scenario’ thing. It tells you how to escape a mountain lion and bees and how to take a punch and whatnot.”

I’m still not sure why he got the book at all but I guess I now know what he did buy. That is the information I was after, in the end. “Well if it keeps you entertained.”

He snickers again, a quietly amused sound and I leave it be. It won’t hurt either one of us if he reads through that book, so long as he does it while sitting down and so long as he doesn’t start to read it out loud. I can imagine that it may just be useful to know how to survive a mountain lion attack but I don’t see the need, we don’t even have mountain lions here. At least I’m pretty sure we don’t.

I’m pretty sure he’s read the book cover to cover a few times already because he still has his nose in it and we’ve been home for a few hours now. Do I feel abandoned? Not really, at least he hasn’t moved from his spot and hasn’t walked on any of the cats though he’s shooed three of them away one after the other when they came to him for the usual affection.

Maybe he stopped reading it for a while and got back to it too, after he shooed them away, I just got up and went into the cat room. If they were wanting affection I’d be giving it to them, I had nothing else to do at that point and I had no desire to be an ‘artist’ as it is. I didn’t feel like drawing.

So I played with them. Exhausted the five youngest early on while Areli and Lavi both kept coming for more. After a while though they caved in to the desire for rest and they plopped down with the rest. That’s when I stepped out again and there he was, still reading that book.

I went into the kitchen, prepared us something to snack on. I left his in the kitchen because we don’t eat in the living room unless it’s popcorn of fruit bowls. These are the only exception. If he’s hungry, he’ll come for his food. I put it under its protective cover, ate my food and I disappeared off into my studio.

If he was going to spend his day reading a book that I know from the size of it could be read in about half an hour or an hour if you’re really slow to read, then I’d just do something else with my time. It’s been a while I’ve seen him so engrossed in something, I just wish it wasn’t that book. Not that I can stop him from liking whatever book he wants, it’s just a little depressing.

When he knocks at the closed door to my studio to see if that’s where I am, the sun has lowered itself considerably over the horizon. It is splashing colours everywhere. Today has been a beautiful day, the weather nice, it would have been a wonderful day for an outing of sorts somewhere.

I sigh at the first knock and I look at my mostly empty sketchbook. I ended up staring off most of the time I spent in there, too busy wondering about when he’d be done with his book. I’m not pleased with myself, not one little bit but there’s nothing I can really do about it at this point.

I close the book, set it and my pencil away. I look at the door as he knocks a second time. He knows the way this works. If I don’t usually answer within a certain amount, he can knock a second time, just to be sure I might not have just not heard the first knock. At the second knock, I ease to my feet and I step to the door to pull it open. I lean against it somewhat, my gaze down to him as I study him a moment. He looks sheepish and I suppose he might have realized he just spent his day reading and re-reading that book.

“I lost track of time?” His words are as sheepish as his face. All I can do is quirk a brow as I still look down at him. Is that really his reasoning?

“Honestly Quentin, three times they came to you for some form of affection and you just waved them away as if they were completely insignificant.” He winces slightly and I roll my eyes. I step forward and he steps back to give me the room to at least get out of my studio.

“If you’d spent your time in your work room I would have understood but this is a book that I’m pretty sure you were done reading really quickly. I just want to understand.”

He shrugs, uncertain and he drops his gaze. “I don’t know, Yael. There just was something to it that I kept on reading it over and over again, I’m pretty sure I know it by heart at this point and it’s not that interesting knowledge to have.”

I sigh and I reach out to muss his hair gently. “All right, fine, just this once. Come on, I bet you haven’t even eaten the food I set out for you so we might as well see about preparing us something for supper. We’ll be looking through my new cooking book for an idea. You can spend an hour or two with the cats after as punishment for ignoring them utterly when you honestly didn’t have a good reason to.”

It’s not a bad punishment. We both know this. It’s just an exhausting one and I figure that if I exhaust him before we get to bed, it’ll be like the cats, he’ll sleep deeply and I might not have to hear him mumble in his half-sleep about what he’s read in the book.


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