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There they sit. The two of them curled on the back of the couch waiting for supper to be served. Their inner clocks tell them that it’s past 5 pm well, actually, 24 minutes late for supper. By 5:30 they will be pacing the floor around my feet — Nick, silently while Rose laments on her burden in life to be the vocal one that has to get me moving away from this computer and out to the kitchen to open that can of food. I think she probably gets tired of always having to be the bitching, nagging one while Nick just waits for her to do it. I don’t think she believes that she’d ever eat again if she had to rely on Nick to do the begging. No, she has to risk coming off as a shrew just to feed them both.

How is that any different from most relationships I’ve had with men? My ex used to say that I was “harsh” because I asked for what I needed. But I, like Rose, knew that unless I spoke up, my needs, or side of the story, would never be heard. I didn’t think I was being pushy or angry at the time. Although, I did get a little pissed when he called me “harsh.” I thought of myself as being a fairly nice, good, straight-forward kind of  person.

I admit that for many years I did have a little, wee — actually pretty full blown — problem with anger mainly caused by the perceived injustices in my life. One of those was having to work for lawyers whose noses automatically looked down on me and anyone else who didn’t have a few extra initials behind their names. We were basically invisible and not worth their trouble — well, unless they wanted something done. That’s why it gave me gave me great pleasure one day when I started getting some of those initials behind my own name. My boss was taking me out for lunch to celebrate my academic achievements.  When we ran into one of her “partners” in the elevator, she gushed at him,  “Matt, congratulate Ann. She’s a Phi Beta Kappa.” I knew she was one and, by the sick look on his face that said, “Ann? Phi Beta Kappa, impossible.”  I knew he was, too. Instead of giving me the secret handshake, he looked at me scornfully and said, “I suppose you are Summa Cum Laude, too.” What a pleasure I got from smiling down at him and saying, “Yes I am.” It didn’t make any difference in how my boss or he treated me after that lunch at the Jockey Club. No matter how many initials I had behind my name, I was still an underling not worth more than a short lunch out.

Rose wouldn’t have stood for that. She’d have pranced her way through those hallways demanding respect — and food. The ex, if he had known Rose, probably would have called her “harsh” too. But she’s just doing what she has to do to make her presence known. I love her and hate her for it. I’m sure a lot of people felt the same way about me when my flippant tongue would shoot out a retort that aimed to get me seen at least for a little while. I don’t know if anyone suspected that all the venom was coming from my own insecurities at not having those initials behind my name — among other things. Rose wouldn’t worry her pretty little head about that.

Nick is getting nervous because Rose has, once again, silently, settled her little self on the back of the couch. He’s watching her apprehensively from his safe space — a little cardboard box that barely fits his body. He should know that Rose will only come when she’s ready. Maybe she’s teaching him a lesson on how to ask for what you need. If she is, he’s not getting it. He’ll wait there until she does his bidding for him. She must get tired of it sometimes — but as long as their is food to be put on the floor she shall accept her role of being the bossy — never harsh — one in this house.

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