Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Quest for the Perfect Husband (Part II)

(This won't make any sense unless you read this first.)

So, the three princesses, somehow, eventually managed to make it off the Never-ending Highway and onto the Long, Long Highway (I-64) that took them into Charlottesville. There, they entered King W's castle, and he immediately offered them either a. a martini or b. wine. Was he The Perfect Husband? How disillusioning that would be, for Princess Emily to discover that her own mother had managed to snag The Perfect Husband. But no, as the evening drew on, the three princesses learned that King W had taken a nasty fall while out walking earlier that day and had a huge wound on his arm that was still bleeding, which he had hidden from Queen A, because "he didn't want to worry her." Standard Husband behavior, something a Perfect Husband would never do.

Saturday arrived, and it seemed that even if they didn't find The Perfect Husband, the three princesses were at least going to be treated to Perfect Weather. Princess Emily was very surprised, having expected the sticky, humid swamp-like weather typically associated with July in that part of the world. But no, they were to have warm sunshine and a dry breeze throughout their search for The Perfect Husband, and search for him they did.

They started at Mr. Jefferson's University, which means they really started at the university bookstore. Surely, the oracle that would lead them to the Perfect Husband would be found in a bookstore, but they found no such oracle, although Princess Marcy did manage to pick up an ulcer, and Princess Becky surprised them by walking in and out of a bookstore without buying books. She was obviously so focused on the pursuit of the Perfect Husband that she was even able to ignore her number-one passion for a few moments.

From there they toured The Lawn, making a stop at Edgar Allan Poe's room (a silly stop, because certainly no Perfect Husband would be found there. However, Princess Emily usually insists on stopping by the shrine of one of her favorite writers of the supernatural whenever she's in town). Princess Emily found herself thinking, as she so often does when she reads about writers who were less-than-stellar husbands, "So glad I wasn't ever married to him." They continued with their tour at The Rotunda. All along the way, King W provided them with engrossing historical accounts (with quite a bit of family history thrown in for good measure). Princess Becky found a nice chair on which to sit in perfect regal fashion, and they enjoyed looking at the "history of books" display on the old library shelves in the Rotunda, but no Perfect Husband was to be found in The Rotunda.

The next stop was The Corner, because, well, it had been two hours since they'd eaten, and the princesses' keen digestive tracts were beginning to complain about such neglectful abuse. Surely, along this little stretch of restaurants and boutiques, Princess Emily would be able to find the quaint little coffee shop offering sweet little pastries she so desired, possibly being served to her by The Perfect Husband. But no, just as the dwarfs had neglected to set up their ice cream stands the day before, it seems the fairies were falling down on their bakery-and-coffee shop duties. They found themselves relegated to Starbucks, and everyone knows, Perfect Husbands do not hang out at Starbucks.

That afternoon, they journeyed to a winery, nestled amongst magnificent purple-mountain views to see if the Perfect Husband was maybe hanging out in the grapevines. Perhaps he would appear, offering them wine, roses, and chocolates, willing to listen to them talk about their feelings for hours, never issuing a single word of advice. Alas! Although they found Princess Emily's sister's artwork attractively displayed all over the walls of the winery, they did not find The Perfect Husband.

That evening, they sought out The Perfect Husband on the Downtown Mall. But no, he did not appear as they walked along, looking in shop windows and finding a place to eat, handing them his credit card and saying, "Spend as much as you'd like on yourself, spend nothing on me, and I won't question how much anything costs." Princess Emily did, however, encounter a belly dancer, which she found quite amusing. She also found herself fantasizing about living in one of the apartments above the shops, a fantasy known to her since her childhood days of spending time on the Downtown Mall with The Great Queen.

By the time they went to bed that night, the three princesses had come to despair over never finding The Perfect Husband. There was nothing to be done but to create their own (Frankensteinian) husband themselves. They began dissecting their husbands and sewing together the bits into one ideal with traits such as these,

Standard Husband Michael's housekeeping abilities
Standard Husband Rob's ability to shop and enjoy roadside attractions more than "getting there"
Standard Husband Bob's ability to carry on fascinating intellectual and philosophical conversations and debates
The trait all three have of being able to attend parties without sitting around like bumps on logs (however, he would not be an Edgar Allan Poe, amusing everyone by stumbling around overly-drunk, either)

This Perfect Husband seemed fine on paper. However, he looked a little funny once they began to build him. Acting like Standard Husbands themselves (which wives are sometimes wont to do), they set him aside, promising to complete him at some later date, a date which would probably never come. They went to bed and set off the next day for the long trip home, empty-handed as far as The Perfect Husband was concerned. The trip was not to have been in vain, however. On the way back, the used bookstore, quite obviously a place that disappeared on rainy days, had materialized on this gorgeous, sunny day, and the princesses loaded up (even Princess Becky bought a book now that her attention was, once again, focused on her true passion).

And not long after that, they reached the sad point at which Princess Emily had to disembark on the journey and wave "goodbye" to the other two princesses as they headed back up to the Kingdom of Connecticut. There to greet her was her Standard Husband (immediately giving advice to the other two princesses as to the best way to get back to Connecticut to avoid all others coming back from weekend pilgrimages). As she watched her friends leave, Princess Emily realized that The (Gray) Pearl was wearing one of her favorite shirts, a shirt he doesn't particularly like, obviously donned for her benefit. Soon, he was telling her how much he'd missed her. They were having a conversation about how he'd watched Jerry McGuire on Friday night and had come away from it hoping he always made it clear to her that he was not like Jerry McGuire, someone who had no passion for the woman he'd married, that he never wanted Princess Emily to think that she didn't mean the world to him. He was fretting, wanting to know if she felt that way. He asked if she wanted to watch a movie and told her it was her turn to choose what they watched.

Well, it seems Princess Emily had found The (Almost) Perfect Husband after all. And the unicorn had been right. All that had been necessary was a journey to Charlottesville. And you know the rest: Princess Emily and The Pearl lived (almost) happily ever after.


bloglily said...

What we most need is almost always right there waiting for us at the end of our journey, wearing the shirt we love.

ZoesMom said...

Clearly a worthwhile quest. Even if Perfect Husband was not found, so many other good things were -- like perfect friends.

ZoesMom said...

oh yeah and Dairy Queen!

Stefanie said...

Awww. Sounds like you have the Perfect Husband to me. I don't think we'd really want them to be absolutely perfect because then the princesses wouldn't have such marvelous quests to go on.

Emily Barton said...

Bloglily, exactly.

ZM, Perfect Friends and DQ. I mean, who could ask for more? Oh well, maybe a new set of "adopted parents," huh?

Stef, yes, he's perfect...except when he deserves to be in the doghouse (but that doesn't happen TOO often).