I said, not exactly my idea of a good time, but I only said it inside of my head, because to state such a thing out loud was only asking for a fight.
He said, you don’t have to go.
No, no, I said. I’ll see battlefields. If that’s what you want to do.
What do you want to do?
See battlefields, I said.
Which is how we ended up at the battlefields. We stood at the edge of one of the fields and my husband looked out over the wide expanse of burnt grass with a very serious look on his face.
Amazing, he said.
The heat had already soaked through my skin to bake my insides. I wanted to go inside the tourist center where there was air conditioning, but it seemed first we had to look at more battlefields. At the edge of each field was a sign that told the year of the battle that had taken place, how many soldiers had died on both sides, and how many had been injured. My husband read every sign. I wanted to say, there’s no test at the end, but I knew he wouldn’t find it funny.
He said, it says here that more men died on these battlefields in one day than get killed in car accidents in this country all year long.
I looked at the empty fields and imagined them covered with bleeding and dead soldiers. The only other visitors at the battlefields were old men and their fat wives, and young families with screaming kids.
I’m feeling a little sick, I said. This heat and everything.
Let’s go inside, my husband said.
Inside, dozens of tourists were wandering about, looking at the exhibits. My mouth had a bad taste, so I dug around in my handbag until I came up with a pack of gum.
Piece? I said.
No, thank you, my husband said.
He wanted to see the short film in the theater. He nodded toward a sign: “No food, drink, chewing gum.”
I’ll just walk around, I said. You go ahead.
I walked around the exhibits. I spit out my gum in the ladies’ room.
Later, driving away from the center, my husband said, You missed a very good movie.
He was driving the speed limit. He waited for me to respond.
It was really very good, he said, for emphasis.