Andrew Jackson closed his book, laid it on the bedside table and rubbed his eyes. He turned and peered over the top of his reading glasses at his wife, Rose, who was ensconced under the covers next to him, her laptop resting on her knees. Andrew watched her for a moment before he spoke.
“What’s new in the cyber world?” he asked eventually.
“Same old same old,” said Rose. “I don’t know why people don’t post more cat videos. Cat videos are the best.”
“Cat videos are very nice,” said Andrew agreeably, “but it seems to me that there are quite a few of them on the internet already. How many more do you think we need?”
“There are only eighty-five million,” said Rose. “I checked.”
“Have you seen them all?” Andrew wanted to know.
“More than once,” said Rose.
“You’ll have to start watching dog videos,” said Andrew.
“Booooooring,” said Rose.
“Can’t argue with you there,” said Andrew.
There was a moment of silence.
“Do you remember my cousin Angela?” asked Rose suddenly.
Andrew raised a thoughtful eyebrow. “Is she the one who forgot to put the roof up on her Mustang convertible before she drove it into the car wash?” he asked. “I loved her.”
“That’s Andrea,” said Rose. “Angela is the one who lives in Toronto. She’s an artist.”
Andrew shook his head. “Nope,” he said. “I remember that you have a cousin who’s an artist, but I don’t remember the cousin.”
“Maybe you never met her,” said Rose. “She moved to Toronto just when you and I were starting to date.”
“That would explain it,” said Andrew. “I don’t remember any of the people I’ve never met. But anyway, why do you ask?”
“I ask because my other cousin Mary posted on Facebook that Angela is having an exhibition at a big gallery in Montreal and the opening is on December 1. I think I want to go to that.”
Andrew pondered that briefly.
“I don’t,” he said.
“I didn’t think you would,” said Rose. “I would go by myself.”
“Do you think that’s a good idea?” asked Andrew.
“Why not?” said Rose.
“You’d be leaving me home by myself,” said Andrew. “What if I throw a huge party that gets out of control and the police have to come and everything?”
Rose looked at him for a second over the top of her own reading glasses. “Do you think that’s likely to happen?” she asked.
Andrew nodded. “Very likely,” he said.
Rose thought about that for a moment. “As long as you clean up after yourself,” she said.
“Oh,” said Andrew. “Never mind then.”
“I would just go for the weekend,” said Rose. “Mary is going and she says some of our cousins from Vancouver are thinking of going but not telling Angela and then surprising her by just showing up at the opening. Some of us haven’t seen each other in like, 20 years.”
“You sure you don’t want me to come with you?” said Andrew.
“Positive,” said Rose.
“Thank God,” said Andrew. “It sounds like a super fun thing to do though, without your husband.”
“I know, right?” said Rose. “And you’d have a weekend to yourself. You could have the boys over and watch the Jets on TV and NFL football all day Sunday and as many ‘Diehard’ movies as you want.”
“Nice,” said Andrew. “Would I be responsible for feeding the cat though?”
“Most likely,” said Rose, “if you think you can handle it.”
“I think so,” said Andrew. “Probably if I forget the cat will remind me.”
Rose looked back at her laptop. “Mary says if we all go, we should go to Angela’s opening on Saturday afternoon and then go see ‘Come From Away’ at the theatre in the evening.”
“You would go see ‘Come From Away’ without me?” said Andrew.
“Yes I would,” said Rose.
“That’s so sweet of you,” said Andrew. “I love you so much. You should stay in Toronto for a week and see all the musicals.”
“You’d like that wouldn’t you?” said Rose.
“I would miss you,” said Andrew. “But I would also miss the musicals so it would balance out.”
“Well, I’m not going to stay in Toronto for a whole week in December,” said Rose. “That would be crazy. But I hear you can get real cheap flights from Toronto to the Mediterranean in winter.”
“I’m pretty sure that’s baseless rumour,” said Andrew. “The only cheap flights you can get out of Toronto in winter are flights going north.”
Rose closed her laptop and set it aside. “I guess I’ll just come home then,” she said.
“You’d better,” said Andrew. “I’d hate to find out I cleaned up after myself for nothing.”