Maureen hears the cab pull up outside the house. He must be home from the latest of one of his infernal meetings. The door opens and Ray shouts,” Hi, I’m home.” The family dog, Lily, runs to the door to greet him. He puts his bag down and pets and hugs her, the usual center of his attention, besides his career, of course.

Before going back to the kitchen, Ray stops at the table in the front hallway to check the mail. Only then does he continue on to the kitchen to see Maureen. His first words are the perfunctory, “How are you?” The next words, spoken with some urgency, “I’m hungry, is there anything to eat?”

Maureen replies, “Yes, there is some left over pasta with clam sauce in the fridge. You can nuke it in the microwave.”

As Ray walks toward the refrigerator, without a kiss or a hug, Maureen says to herself, as she looks down to finish her crossword, “If my marriage were a crossword, it would read 24 across, 3 letters for neglect-Ray, 12 down, 3 letters for self-absorbed-Ray, 32 down, 7 letters for desperate-Maureen.
As Ray peeks into the refrigerator, Maureen speaks, without looking up from her puzzle, “I think there is some beer in there from last night, too.”