"I think there's something wrong with me. I know I shouldn't, but, please, hear me out.
"You know that Jim who helped Jack and Kay and I move Kay's sofa Thursday? Well, after we were done he kind of invited us to a strip club along with a few of his budies. Yes, I went. I know you're upset, but again, please, hear me out.
I didn't want to go, but Jack let it slip that I'd never been to one. And then they all were volunteering to pay for me, and I didn't want to be rude.
"Well, we went there and the girls were... dancing, as they're suppose to, I guess. And the guys paid for a... lap dance for me. But, but I didn't enjoy it. What I mean is, I didn't really care about the girls. I just tried to sit there and sip my beer and pretend I was interested while trying not to look like a pervert.
"I don't think it worked, as the girl's seemed irritated with me by the end of the night. And I'm pretty sure all the guys think I'm gay now. Don't laugh.
"But, Jim and his friends Bill and Kyle kept laughing about how mad their girlfriends were going to be. Everyone was cat calling and hooting and hollering and making comments. I just wanted to leave and go to your place and apologize and cuddle up to you. I am sorry, I know I should never have went in the first place.
"But that's why I wonder if there is something wrong with me, that I don't want to look at other girls. That I do only want to be with you.
"The guys there kept complaining about their girlfriends. The one otter, Bill, kept going on about his girl dragging him around on a wine tasting trip. Kyle complained about his girl always taking him clothes shopping. Even Jack complained about Trisha wanting him to go see some chick flick with her.
"I could never talk about you behind your back like that. I mean, there was that one time two years ago with the can opener. And you know I felt so bad for saying something I came right over to your place and apologized. And I haven't forgotten to put that can opener away since. Stop laughing, I'm being serious.
"I mean, I know everyone has their problems, and I know it's cosidered normal to vent, but I just see it as a form of betrayal. I mean, if I have a problem with you I'll talk about it with you. And I have. And you've complained to me about things I do, too, like that time with the motorbike. Usually we're irritated, and sometimes we argue, but eventually we calm down and realise how trivial of a thing it is compared to one another. That's one thing I love about us.
"But is it wrong of me to feel that way?
"And I like going with you places. Like right now, going with you to this quilt show instead of to the drag strip with the guys. They all think it's because I'm whipped, but it's not. It's not some token gesture of pretending to take an interest. It's that I would honestly rather spend the day with you.
"And I really do want to take an interest in your hobbies. I mean, I'm getting better at the quilting. At least I think I'm getting better. I'm stabbing myself less often. You're laughing again. But, I have to hide my drawer of supplies to keep from getting picked on.
"I like going to the mall shopping with you. I'd love to go on a wine tasting trip with you. Admittedly, the chick flicks are pushing it, but it's not like we pay attention to the movies, anyway.
"And its not just those guys. The men at the golf course, the standup comics, the sitcoms on television, they all complain whenever their wives ask them to do something. I've never minded. Hell, even the absolute taboo of you calling me and asking me to pick up your in-season medication I don't mind. You even apologize like twenty times whenever you do ask me. But it honestly doesn't bother me because I'm not twelve anymore.
"And they all complain whenever the girl takes an interest in the guy's hobby. The sitcoms always have at least one episode like that. The comedians are always complaining about trying to teach their wives whatever sport. And the guys at the golf course always complain whenever anyone brings their girl out. I'm sure they're gossiping behind my back about me whenever I bring you out there.
"Maybe it is wrong. Maybe it is suppose to be a man's sport. But I don't care, I like having you out there. It's fun teaching you. I enjoyed that first time at the driving range when it took you ten swings to hit the ball. Though it was fun playfully ribbing you that the ball would have gone further if you'd used the putter. We were both laughing and having a good time. Heh, see, you still think it's funny.
"It's almost a shame you're getting better now. I don't get to wrap my arms around you to show you how to swing as much.
"But everyone around me tells me its wrong. That I'm suppose to get what I want and get out.
"Look around us, my parents are divorced, your parents are divorced. My brother's in a 'trial separation' with his wife. That friend of yours Mike is already divorced twice, and he's younger than either of us.
"There's three guys at the golf course who I know are cheating on their wives with the beverage cart girl. And one whose cheating on his husband.
"And then there's George whose in jail for beating his girl.
"When I was in elementary school, first grade, there was one boy, one boy, whose parents were still together. He was the wierd one. He once asked his parents if they'd get a divorce so the rest of us would stop teasing him.
"That's why I wonder if there is something wrong with me. That I'm not one of the guys because I do feel this way. That I don't want us to fall apart. That I want to marry you and have a family with you and grow old with you. Is that wrong of me?
"Is there something wrong with me that after all the years we've been together, that I still love you?"
Sylvia had long since parked her car at the far end of the lot of a 'Mister Hot Dog.' The snow leopard just sat there for a moment, watching her ringtail boyfriend, smiling, tears running down the side of her face.
Blaise looked over at her, and she reached over and put a paw on his cheek. She barked a small laugh and said, "You're a freak." She undid her seatbelt, leaned over, and kissed him lightly on the lips. "Maybe we're both freaks. But if so, I sure don't want to be normal." She kissed him again, a bit longer this time.
"You know, I've never thought twice about it. You asking to come with me to the mall, or sit in with my book club. I guess some girls would think it suffocating, but I always thought it sweet. Heck, remember when you said you wanted to try quilting, I hauled your ass down to the fabric store and laded you down with two carts full of supplies!
"I love that you always invite me to the golf course or drag strip. I know it must be frustrating trying to teach me."
"Not at all." She gave a knowing grin, "Maybe a little."
"But still, we have a good time together, whenever we go." She kissed him again. "And the nights afterward are fun, too, he he.
"And I don't know why so many relationships fall apart. Maybe they forgot why they fell in love. Maybe they were never in love and just got married because that's what they thought they were suppose to do. Maybe they don't know how to resolve their issues when they argue.
"All I know is we're happy together. And we've been happy together. And I hope we'll always be happy together. It's going to be hard, at times. There are going to be challenges, temptations, arguments. But it's like you said, all of that is trivial compared to one another. And if we remember that, and to always be good to one another and never take the other for granted, we'll be alright." She leaned over and kissed him as passionately as possible given the gearshifter poking her in the hip.
"And you know how I didn't tell you where exactly this quilt show was at? Well, it's because I didn't want you looking it up online and ruining the surprise. It's at this fairground that also happens to be hosting this big demolition derby. I figured after we check out the quilts we can go watch that."
"I love you."
"I love you, too."