Concessions

“Hey babe,” Adrian called out from the living room. “What do you wanna watch?” Adrian  hovered and slowly scanned the library of movies that rest upon the media shelves.

“Haven’t we gone through all the new movies we have,” Tula called back to him. Her back faced him as she placed the dishes back into the cabinets. Her chin lifted as she spoke and listened for his response.

“No,” Adrian said in a lower voice, studying his final choices. “Actually, we got the Mortician and we have Detective Alley 2.”

Tula frowned as she dried her hands on the small towel on the marble counter. “They made a sequel,” she asked opening up the pantry cabinet. “Nevermind,” she said shaking her head and observing her final choices. “Popcorn or chips,” she asked finally, tonguing her cheek apprehensively. She thought longer than a person should over the choice of snack to share with her husband, but she knew the outcome would devastate her night. She made one choice a true question, an inquisitive one, an option she rued. The second choice she presented made her face light up with a big smile and she pronounced clearly so her husband could hear. She waited patiently for his reply. Tula knew that her voice was low enough, her husband would have certainly believed she presented just chips.

“Eh…. popcorn,” Adrian answered.

Tula closed her eyes and dropped her shoulders as she let out a long silent sigh. “Are you sure?”

“Yeah. What movie?”

“The detective one, I guess,” Tula said, grabbing the flat bag, slamming the door shut and throwing the popcorn in the microwave. She punched the numbers in the machine and the light glowed inside and the bag rotated inside on the glass circular plate. The popcorn bag started to stir. Tula began to stew.

“You sure,” Adrian asked, entering the kitchen. “You don’t sound solid.”

“I just don’t understand how you make a sequel. Detective Alley ended very definitively,” Tula lied.

“Yeah. I think it’s all in the name of the movie,” Adrian said, crossing his arms and leaning against the countertop. “Like the alley has more than one detective so they can do more investigative stories.”

“Whatever,” Tula said with a shrug.

“The popcorn is ready,” Adrain said, pointing to the microwave.

“I know,” she said, looking for a popcorn bowl. 

“Want me to get it?”

“No, I got it.”

“You sure,” Adrian pressed. “You want to watch the Mortician instead.”

“It doesn’t matter,” she said, pouring the popcorn into the big bowl.

“Okay,” he replied. “If you say so.”

The two entered their living room and settled into the soft couch. Their lights dimmed and Adrian pressed a small button on the remote allowing the movie to start.

“Madame, you have the honor of first bite,” Adrian said, presenting the bowl full of popcorn to her.

“I’m swooning,” Tula said blankly.

“This should be good. And I love popcorn,” Adrian said as he grabbed a handful of popcorn and chomped down voraciously. Tula smiled weakly and turned to face the television.

And the movie played smoothly for twenty minutes until she heard a dreadful noise. The sound of wet air passing through tight spaces. That sound was frightening to her, making her hair stand up on the back of her neck. It was recognizable and there wasn’t any place to escape to.

Tula closed her eyes and wished for the awful sound to leave her. But it did not. The sound echoed again in her skull again. That air passing through, this time it was extended longer than the previous sound.

Tula took a deep sigh and dipped her head.

“Still with me,” Adrian asked.

“Yup.”

“What do you think is happening here?”

Tula reached for the remote and paused the movie. She sprang up and turned the lights on. Adrian stood on his feet in confusion and followed his wife’s directions through the living room.

“What? What is it? What’s wrong,” Adrian echoed.

“I hear a noise.”

“What noise?”

“It’s that sound. “It’s so annoying.”

“What does it sound like?”

Tula looked in the corner of the baseboards as if she searched for a roach.

“It’s tiny and aggravating.”

“You gotta give me something to work with,” Adrian said, not deterred.

Tula grabbed the popcorn bowl away from him. “No,” Adrian protested. “I’m not done.”

“Okay.”  

Then the sound came again. 

“There,” Tula exclaimed, pointing at her husband’s face. “Right there?”

“Where?” Adrian slapped his face repeatedly, thinking there was a bug on his face.

“Right between those gums,” she said, still pointing.

Adrian came to a halt. “What? Seriously?”

“Yes,” Tula said, gritting her teeth together. “It’s seriously the most annoying sound in the world right now. I’m not joking.”

“Sucking my teeth?”

“Why would that be a good sound?”

“I don’t do it on purpose. it’s the kernel from the popcorn.”

“Literally, you can use anything else. Toothpick, floss. Long nails anything except air.”

Adrian grimaced and sucked his teeth again.”

Tula crossed her arms in disbelief. “You really want to go there? Why would you do that after I said that I don’t like that?”

“Because that’s the sound I make when I’m very annoyed and I’m assessing the situation.”

“You’re annoyed. Really? I wonder how you got here? I was annoyed since you mentioned popcorn for a snack. Why are you annoyed?”

“I’m annoyed because it sounds like this is something that has been on your mind for a while.”

Tula hesitated. “No.”

“Oh, so you’ve known about this for a while and decided to keep it to yourself until now?”

“If you think I’m going to share every little thing that ticks me off from day to day you’re out of your mind!”

“Then why’d you marry me?”

“I’m not talking about you! Are you even listening to me? I’m telling you something that’s affecting me now and your response is to do it again? It doesn’t matter how long it’s bothered me. What are you choosing by do with this information, Adrian? What’s wrong?”

Adrian sat down and shook his head remorsefully. “I’m not doing this on purpose.”

Tula’s shoulders dropped. “I know you’re not.”

“Do you? Because I don’t want to do anything that aggravates you.”

“And I didn’t want to tell you because I love you,” Tula said, extending her hand to her husband’s face. Adrian smiled warmly at her touch.

“Wanna continue the movie,” Adrian asked.

“Yes,” Tula said happily.

The two snuggled into their spots and resumed the movie. The movie continued, but Adrian was too concerned and distracted by the tiny sounds that came from his wife’s rear end. Adrian tilted his head back and breathed out as much as he could.

“Hey honey,” Adrian asked. “Let’s talk about something that annoys me too.”

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