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You don't own me

By RICHARD SHAW

I stood there in the bedroom one morning last week putting on a shirt and I noticed that on top of my dresser was my wife's birth certificate, a car title for an old vehicle I had been trying to sell and the papers for one of my Siberian Huskies.

I picked them up in one hand and waved them at my wife in one hand. She was still half asleep.

"Look at all the things I have a title to," I said to her as she still had a lot of sleep in her eyes. "I have a title to the old Mustang, Ellie and you."

Her eyes opened a little more.

"What are you talking about?"she asked in a manner which proved she was truly irritated. She is not and has never been a morning person.

"These I said," as I shook the handful of papers at her. "These are all official documents of ownership and I have one for you, the dog and the old red car."

She really woke up then.

"The birth certificate is not a document of ownership," she said disgustingly.

"Well you know the old saying," I said. "Possession is 90 percent of the law and right now I have your birth certificate in my hand."

"Yeah?" she said. "Well I can go find our marriage license, and in my mind that is when I took ownership... no, responsibility for you. Particularly responsibility for goofy ideas that you have like owning me. Unfortunately no one supplied me with an owners manual when I got you, so it has certainly been trial and error. And you have caused me lots of trials."

I looked at the three documents in my hand. The car had a VIN number, the dog had a registry number and my wife, well she didn't have an origination number except the date. I know that she does have a social security number however, but of course that wasn't there.

It did have an imprint of her little feet though.

"They don't list an identification number here for you, but that little turned up toe you have on each foot certainly is an identifying mark, much like Ellies papers that mention she has eyes of different colors."

"Leave my toes alone," she said grunting an angry reply.

Considering her propensity for not so cheery behavior in the morning, it was probably the wrong time for me to even bring up the subject of ownership. But I had already dug a pit deep enough that I couldn't climb out of it, so what did I do? Well I didn't have the sense to stop digging.

"When you were born you belonged to your parents didn't you?" I asked.

"They took care of me, but I don't think I ever belonged to them," she said as she looked for her slippers.

"Well think about it," I said. "They did everything to maintain your being. Since you married me isn't that what I have done too?"

She turned and sneered at me.

"Maintain, Maintain my being?" she said in horror and then punctuated the last phrase with a question mark. "You think you have maintained me. Is that what I am to you? Another thing to maintain? And am I high maintenance too? Is that the next thing you are going to say?"

That last statement was loud enough that no one in the neighborhood probably slept in that morning. She then whirled around, went in the bathroom and turned on the shower.

I sat there with my mouth open then realized how much it tasted like foot, my foot.

I opened the door to the bathroom and gently parted the shower curtain and put my head in through the shower curtain.

"I didn't mean..."

A bar of soap greeted me, right in the forehead.

"Get out of here or this shampoo bottle will be next and it won't be stuck in your face," she stated, rather loudly I might say.

I retreated, rather hastily at that.

I finished getting dressed and went down the hall to the kitchen to get my morning Cheerios. The shower soon stopped. While her shower had been very warm (as I learned when the bar of soap smacked me down) a definite chill came down the hall.

I walked in the bedroom and she was getting her shoes on. I walked in the bathroom and brushed my teeth.

"Uh I'm going to work," I said.

"Good!" she said. Not goodbye, but "Good."

I thought about asking her what was bothering her, you know, acting innocent and all like I didn't know what I had done. But when I turned to look at her she had black on. You know like a real hanging judge wears. It was time to leave before the executions began.

After arriving at work I texted her that I was sorry and that I was really just joking.

No reply.

A few minutes later I told her how much I loved her.

No reply.

A bit later I asked her to forgive me; that I was forlorn and downtrodden by my bad behavior.

No reply.

I then asked her if she wanted to go shopping and buy some new clothes or something the next weekend.

No reply. I was really in big trouble now. I couldn't even buy her off.

About noon I got an email from her. In it was a picture of the Declaration of Independence and it had music with it.

The song that played was "You Don't Own Me" by Leslie Gore.




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