Longtime relationships have their own shorthand that evokes whole series of memories. Far Side of Fifty's Words We Made Up reminded me of this. Everybody has a similar story, and likely more than one. The story of "Fee" makes Husband and me laugh every time we remember it.
The scene: Quiet evening, livingroom, Husband in his chair, I in mine. He, reading some periodical or other, and I doing the same. Suddenly, he raises his eyes from the page and asks in a curious tone, "Junie, what's this word?" (At the time I was, and still am to a somewhat lesser degree, the Omniscient Word Woman.)
"How do you spell it?" I asked.
He responded, "Fee, arr, ee..."
"Yeah." He began again to spell the word. "Fee, arr, ee..."
"Yes! Fee!" He was growing frustrated with my interruption.
And he began once again.
"Fee, arr, ee..."
"Wait a minute. What does it look like?"
"What! What does what look like?"
The tension was building.
"Fee. What does it look like?"
Voice slightly raised: "What do you mean, 'What does it look like?' It's fee!"
"But," I shook my head, genuinely wanting to help but at a complete loss, "What shape is it?"
He looked at the word on the page.
He looked for a long time.
And then began to giggle, and couldn't stop. I began to laugh with him, not quite knowing why...and we spent a few minutes in complete meltdown hysteria.
The word is lost to both of us now, but we remember fee.
It looks like this: F
8 hours ago