A scowl warped his features as his eyes rose towards the locked door.
“What's taking so long?”
Robert answered with a “harrumph” and gave it one more go.
Minutes passed and the door opened just as his wife called out once more, “Robert?”
Robert strode past his wife without looking at her. “Let's go,” he muttered and headed for the store exit.
“But...” his wife protested trotting behind.
“I told you that I didn't like the color,” he called over his shoulder.
She frowned. “No, you didn't...”
Robert stopped and turned to look at his wife. “Well, I did.”
“No,” she repeated with a finger resting near the corner of her mouth and her eyes attempting to peer into her memory.
“Well, I didn't.”
“You didn't say it.”
“I didn't like the color.”
“There were others.”
“I don't need new sweat pants.”
“But the old ones are torn in the seat.”
“Sew 'em up.”
Later, belted into their seats, Robert turned and wrapped his right arm over the back of the passenger side seat. He could see his wife out of the corner of his eye, pondering what had happened in the store.
“Were they too small?”
“They were labeled 'one-size-fits-all'.”
Robert glanced at his wife and the color rose from the back of his neck until it filled his cheeks. “One size never fits all,” he shot back.
Robert interrupted his wife's thought by backing out quickly into the path of an oncoming car. The driver honked his annoyance and Robert answered with a curse.
“Please be careful.”
“I thought he was signaling that he wanted our parking space.”
“Oh. I guess he didn't.”
Robert glanced at her.
“He's right behind us.”
Robert checked the rear view mirror in time to catch the one-finger salute the other driver waved. Robert answered in kind.
Robert's wife pouted without speaking until they pulled into the driveway at home. She held her silence until they were inside.
“You shouldn't be so sensitive,” she said as he followed her through the front door.
“I'm not sensitive.”
The smile that crossed her lips in response wasn't humorous. “Don't you see the irony?”
“You've been arguing with the rest of the school board to implement Common Core all month,” she began. “It's the same thing.”
“What does that have to do with anything?”
“You want our school district to adopt Common Core.”
“Isn't that a one-size-fits-all system for education?”
“Common Core is the program we have to adopt if we want to receive any federal funding.”
“But, it's a ridiculous idea...”
“Not you, too!” Robert cut her off.
Robert's wife ignored his outburst. “You can't teach all children in any one school the same way. How do they expect teachers to implement the same program for all children in every school in the nation?”
“They're the experts,” Robert demurred. “Who are we to argue with them.”
“We're the parents. Aren't we supposed to know what's best for our children?”
“Of course, we do...” Robert responded without ending his sentence.
“We know what's best for our kids,” Robert answered, “but not every parent does.”
“You're beginning to sound like those experts in Washington.”
“You know what's best for other people's children?”
Robert paused and looked away as though searching for an escape.
“Maybe I... they do.”
“I'll believe that...” she began and opened the refrigerator to retrieve a bottle of spring water.
Robert waited for the challenge while his wife removed the bottle cap and took a drink.
“...when you can get into 'one-size-fits-all sweatpants.”