When we confirmed that my wife Jennifer was pregnant with our second child in 1996, we realised that our current two-bedroom home in Kew would be too small for our needs, and we would require a larger house. So, with our two-year old son Campbell in tow, we began the search for our new family home.
Month: August 2017
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It was at my grandfather’s wake, staring at the plate of sticky brown cake, when I realised nothing was as it seemed.
Marika brought in the pizza and put it on the kitchen dining table, opened the box and started cutting it up.
Craig walked in, surveyed the scene,and froze.
He didn’t raise his voice but it was wavering. “What,” he said, “the f–k….is that?”
His lips were thin flat line.
“Hawaiian pizza,” said Marika. “I love it.”
Craig picked up a withered pineapple cube from the pizza, and looked at its facets like a jeweller examining a diamond that he’s just realised is a cubic zirconia.
He tossed it in the food scraps bin like it was radioactive.
“Hawaiian pizzas,” he said, like he was a biker issuing a fatwa on an enemy, “are an abomination. They have no place in our society. They are an insult to the pizza cuisine.”
Marika chuckled at the joke as she tucked in to the pizza, but then she looked at Craig. He was deadly serious.
“Well,” Craig said, sighing, “I guess this is it, then.”
“Pardon?” asked Marika, but she was half listening. She was busy eating the pizza.
“That’s it. I’m leaving.”
Marika spit out ham and pineapple pieces. “What?” she said, with her mouth still full.
“It’s the last straw, Mar,” he said, and embarked on a spiel.
“First, you never pat Freda,’’ he said.
Freda was their American pit bull terrier- Rottweiler cross. Even after Marika’s three years as Craig’s boyfriend, Freda would growl when Marika approached, refused to obey her commands, even food ones, and would cuddle up to Craig in bed.
Marika was scared of Freda.
“Second, you never put the soap back in the shower receptacle.”
True, thought Marika, but it was hardly a hanging offence.
“Thirdly, you hate my Bob Marley records.”
This was interesting. Marika had always made a point of never commenting when Craig regularly played some of his 10 Bob Marley albums, loudly, all through the house.
She would retreat to her room, finding a pressing phone call to make, or have to suddenly run down to the shops.
“Fourthly, you hate Breaking Bad.”
Guilty as charged, she guessed. Craig used to suggest they snuggle up and watch the series, but it never appealed to her, so she somehow always had the dishes to do or to urgently clean out the garage when that was on.
“You hate my sister.”
Craig’s sister Gina was a bitchy, soulless, brainless cashed up bogan who never hesitated to tell Marika exactly what was wrong with her – why did she have no children? Why was her house a pig sty? Why did she not have acrylic nails?
Marika had had to almost bite her tongue right off to stop from talking back to that stupid waste of air. As far as she knew, she’d managed to keep her silence and play nice, but obviously Craig had seen through it.
“I have a lot of good qualities,” said Marika, munching another piece of pizza.
Craig was pacing the kitchen, making points one finger at a time.
He was running out of fingers. “You hate me smoking in the house. You hate my MG. You hate my succulent collection and you hate….’’
He was working up a right rage and his arms were flying around like a mad scientist.
“You hate camping at Tootgarook.”
Marika had another piece of pizza. It was true, Your Honour. She really did hate camping. The dirt. The cold. The lumpy mats and sleeping bags. The fact she spent the entire summer holidays down there for the past three years, shopping and cooking and cleaning for Craig, his dog Freda, Craig’s parents, his siblings, their partners and their kids and pets.
She was no more than a slave. She’d had no time to read, or even go for a walk on the piddly foreshore or the sorry excuse for a beach. There were no waves.
Last summer it had rained most days.
Craig was still ranting.
“…all that would be enough to break most relationships but this” he gestured at the pizza, of which most had now been consumed by Marika.
“Did you realise Hawaiian pizza doesn’t actually qualify as pizza,” Craig said, and his expression had contempt and anger and disgust in it.
Marika put down the piece she was eating, and put her hands on the table. She looked at him and he stopped pacing. “Craig do you realise you’re getting upset at a pizza? It’s food. It’s molecules arranged into a substance that we eat. Pineapple is a lovely food. And it’s good for you.”
“Yeah, but it has no place on a pizza,” Craig was pointing and his voice was raised. He was almost on the verge of crying.
He walked out of the room I a huff. Freda, on her mink rug, looked at Marika with a cold contempt and maybe a tinge of pity, stood up and followed him.
And so Marika and Craig split up, following the Great Hawaiian Pizza Incident of 2017.
“Oh shit! Quick! Hide!”
They sat and stared at each other – maybe not with actual loathing, but pretty close to it. Close enough that the air between them began to charge and shimmer, each of them willing the other to give in, skulk away morosely and noisily bang cupboards for a while. Connie knew that that was going to have to be her, that she’d have to finally succumb and stalk off lest she risk brain implosion from the ceaseless glare that was boring into her sanity. She had to break contact, she had to, but dammit, that meant giving in to this freakin’ pineapple that had materialised unbidden on her dining table and she was not about to lose a glare-off to a piece of tropical fruit.