She frowns as she pulls back one side of the ruffled kitchen curtains that frame the window in front of her kitchen sink. It’s pouring out, she can tell, by the huge drops of rain that are reflected in the glow of the back door light. As she stacks the last plate carefully into the cupboard, still slightly wet from being washed and left on the drain board to dry, she is feeling a bit melancholy.
Don’t misunderstand her-she is very happy. She has a darling little cracker box house with a built in bookcase, a telephone nook, and a corner kitchen shelf- complete with a variegated ivy plant in a red McCoy flowerpot.
Poking around the foliage, into the dirt, she realizes her ivy could use a little drink -just as she needs a cup of hot tea and a good soak in the tub before starting dinner. (Her husband is working late tonight. He hopes to make junior partner by the end of the year.) She’s not cooking anything fancy-just a hot dog and bean casserole, baked in her turquoise snowflake casserole dish-the divided one. His side- with onions-hers without. She loves her snowflake baking set, but as she takes pleasure in the thought of it, she feels slightly at odds with herself. Is she silly for being proud of her dishes?
Magazines. Television. Gossip at the beauty parlor. Everywhere she turns lately-the same topic keeps cropping up - that women should look beyond their homes for satisfaction and do more with their lives than take care of their husbands. Being “ liberated”, she thinks it’s called.
She has no complaints. She loves her husband. He’s a good man who is good to her. In return, she works hard trying to live up to her own ideal of what makes a perfect wife.
Back in college, she spent hours practicing her watercolor painting. She was actually quite talented-but she gave it up when she got married. He didn’t ask her to, but it seemed like the sensible thing to do.
Forgetting her ivy plant, her tea, her bath-forgetting her self imposed ideals and sensibilities-she heads for the basement and finds the box that contains her trays of paint.
They are all dried up now. And she is probably a bit rusty.
But she knows that all she needs to do to get started again, is just add water.