One day, an old man sat watching his wife at work in the kitchen peeling a sac full of potatoes.
He stared and stared, déja vu hitting him hard. How many times had he seen this image in all their years together?
His wife, after 45 years of wedlock, had proven that she was worth the struggle it took him to fight his entire family just to be with her. They hadn’t approved of her at the time because they were of polar opposite backgrounds.
Her family could never live up to their standards, they had said, for they were of an aristocratic, high-end-of-the-ladder class while her family were at the very bottom.
He had walked out on his dad’s threats of disowning him of any future inheritance and had flown off to snag her finger with a simple silver ring pronouncing her his wife.
As he stared, he saw a woman who had stuck by him when he had to work deep into the night. A woman who would take him into her arms and comforted his tiredness with her soothing voice, a woman who never complained when he couldn’t afford to buy her clothes or meat to fill their growing kids’ bellies. All he could afford to feed them was potatoes at the time: boiled, roasted and fried.
Later on, luck had stricken and their life had slowly taken a different turn. From washing dishes in dingy, old restaurants, he now owned a chain of his own. His three boys- now men, each in charge of a different branch, gave him the pleasure of early retirement. Life had been good to them in the long run.
“What are you peeling all those potatoes for?” he asked his wife.
All these potatoes reminded him of their poverty-stricken days which they were now well past. He couldn’t remember the last time they’d even eaten them.
“The boys are paying us a visit today and I asked them to stay for dinner,” she replied.
“For dinner? with only potatoes?! Don’t u think we can afford a more satisfying meal now than just potatoes?” he asked puzzled.
“That’s the point, honey. Potatoes were all we ever had. Fried, boiled and grilled we had them. We haven’t had them in God knows how long.”
“Yes, but don’t you think we can afford a better more filling meal now?”
“Although, we’d only had potatoes, but we were a happy family. A humble one. Potatoes are a reminder of how we made it through all these years, how our boys had struggled to eat them every single day until they finally accepted they couldn’t live the pleasurable life their friends lived. Potatoes, tonight will take us back many years and remind us how far we’ve made it together.”
His eyes glazed over in tears and he found his wobbly legs rise, taking him to his wife where he kneeled beside her and took her hands in his.
“If waking up to the sight of you everyday in this home, means eating those damn potatoes every single day, then I’ll have them in all their forms,” he chokingly voiced.
He pulled up a chair beside her and they went on peeling together.