I cooked most days because if I didn’t, I’d have to eat baked beans on toast at least three times a week. Stuart didn’t complain about the food I cooked; after a while, he implicitly delegated me the decision-making responsibility for what we ate.
The schoolwork got increasingly demanding in the second semester, and I rarely got home before Stuart. I often came home to find him already in comfortable clothing and playing a video game. I used to scoff at my former colleague who married a man who came home before her and played a video game while waiting for her to cook for him. I resented Stuart for degrading me to the role of a wife of patriarchy. But I also felt guilty and responsible as Stuart provided for me. It would have made me feel better if he was as ambitious as I and worked to advance his career, but he had long given up on that idea and settled back in his dead-end job.
I was distraught and close to tears as I shoveled ground pork and spinach fried rice into my mouth. I asked Stuart last time if he had any intention to change his job. When he denied it again, I said, “I don’t think we want the same thing in life.” I waited for Stuart to tell me that wasn’t true, but he said, “you may be right.”