It’s nearly that time again. The time that deluges me with dread, makes me tremble with trepidation, and floods me with fear. The scenario goes like this:
“Honey, bring me your checkbook so I can reconcile it,” my husband says. He tries to keep his voice light, gentle even, like the Horse Whisperer, not wanting to spook me. With wavering hand, I give him my checkbook and all my receipts and slink into another part of the house.
“Darling,” he calls, his voice still calm, “what is this deposit here?” I creep back to the living room where he sits at his secretary, and peer over his shoulder.
“Um…it’s a deposit for $82.00,” I say softly.
“Yes, I see that you’ve entered $82.00, but where did it come from? I don’t see a deposit slip and there’s nothing in your statement to indicate you made a deposit.”
“I’ll go and look for one,” I say, just for an excuse to escape, knowing perfectly well there is no deposit slip because I don’t know where the hell that $82.00 came from. I sit in a dark corner of the kitchen, wracking my brain for an explanation. Rising panic makes it hard to breathe. Why can’t my husband take it on faith that somewhere during the course of the month, I had $82.00 fall into my hands and I entered that amount into my checkbook. Why does he always need nit picky details?
“Sweetheart, did you find it?” he calls, voice a little thinner, and I slink back in.
“No, sir,” I say, forgetting I’m not a teenager addressing my father.
But he won’t let it go. He keeps probing and prodding and pulling the explanation out of me until I finally scream,”I remember now! That $82.00 isn’t a real deposit. It’s more like a transfer from my no-show.” He sighs rather louder than I think he needs to. My no-show is an imaginary place in my checkbook or the bank or outer space, I don’t know, that catches any money I haven’t spent from my retirement deposit that month. I just minus that amount from my checkbook with a notation that reads, “move to no-show.” It’s like an imaginary savings account. It’s really still in my checkbook, but I pretend it isn’t so I can build a little nest egg for something special. My husband knows about my no-show but really doesn’t understand how it works.
“I made that $82.00 babysitting last month,” I say, proud that I figured it out and we can end this nightmare.
“But Dearest,” my husband says, with just a hint of exasperation I find a bit offensive, “you have to actually enter deposits into your checkbook before you move them into your no-show. Otherwise, I don’t know how much you’re supposed to have in your no-show. Do you understand?”
No, I don’t understand. To be perfectly honest, I think my husband is a little obsessive. “I write everything down on a little scrap of paper,” I tell him, wondering where I put it because I know for some ridiculous reason, he’s going to ask for it. The evening continues in a similar manner until things are more or less resolved or my husband figures things out the best he can while trying hard not to let my sobbing disturb his concentration. And thus I have survived another monthly bank statement.