Blood Pressure

“Here we are, cheese, steak, potatoes with butter, ice cream for dessert…all the fixin’s for a good meal,” Linda sang as she walked in the door.

Fred looked at her and wondered, not for the first time, if she was trying to do him in slowly but inexorably. Death by high cholesterol, no one would ever suspect. But there was no motive, so Fred dismissed it as Linda simply forgetting his condition yet again. “Linda, you know I’m not able to eat all of that. I need to lower my blood pressure, not raise it. The doctor said mainly vegetables…I told you last night I was thinking of going vegetarian, and you buy steak? I can’t eat all that.”

“Oh, don’t be silly, one meal won’t kill you,” Linda swatted his arm playfully, leaving a drop of blood from the steaks to soak through his shirt.

“That’s what you said last night, honey,” he replied. “And the night before, and the night before that. We can’t keep doing this.” Fred rinsed at the spot with water, but it wouldn’t come clean; he only seemed to be spreading the blood stain.

“Well, what do you want then?” she asked.

“How about just some vegetables? In a stir fry? Served over wild rice?”

“Well, you can make it yourself. And where will you get your protein? Not from tofu, I hear that stuff has all kinds of terrible things, phyto-estrogens that will turn you in to a woman and give you cancer. None of that crap in my house.”

“Tofu is perfectly safe. And besides, I don’t need protein every meal of every day, that’s part of the problem,” Fred was getting annoyed, both with Linda’s tired arguments, and the ever-worsening blood stain on his shirt.

“Fred, you’re not turning in to one of those damned, hippy-veggie ‘all things are the earth’ types are you? Half-starved dips looking for attention, that’s all they are!” Linda was revving up, in the spirit of another good battle.

“So what if I am? Maybe it’s a decision in my life I want to make!”

“Well, I’m not cooking you separate meals! You can make your own food!”

“I already do!” he replied, exasperated. “I cook most of the meals around here. I have to get every meal started, and most of the time you just sit around on your computer.”

“Well, I want to make you my delicious steak and potatoes,” she said, now getting annoyed at his refusal to be light-hearted about this argument.

“I don’t want to eat meat anymore! It’s killing me, as is this argument,” Fred was nearly yelling now.

“Quit the histrionics!” she shouted back. “You’re just trying to get back at me!”

“For what?” Fred switched from anger to confusion.

Linda was quiet a moment, then said, “I don’t know yet, but I’ll figure it out.” They stood staring at each other for a full minute, before Linda said, “This is silly…it really is.”

Fred started to smile, then to chuckle, and Linda joined him. “You’re right,” he laughed. “We’re just being ridiculous.”

Linda gave Fred a quick kiss, before saying, “Right, now, let’s go cook us some steak!” She turned to head to the kitchen as the smile dropped from Fred’s face.


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