My husband has a tendency to make his phone calls on loudspeaker. As a yenta, this makes my job easier. With most people I’d only have one side of the conversation to make inferences from; with my husband, it’s all available to me without missing a single emphatic pause. 

Most conversations don’t interest me, but certain words perk up my ears, like wife, and one Erev Shabbos, I found myself not-so-surreptitiously listening in. 

“What’s this business of you going out to work?” It was the voice of my husband’s friend Binyamin. 

“You do what you gotta do. This is what I have to do.” 

“What about your wife?” 

“What about her?” 

“She knew what she was signing up for. She promised to support you biz hundred un tzvantzeg.” 

“She’d love to, but sometimes life gets complicated.” 

“What’s complicated? She promised, she has to figure it out.” 

Nachi and I exchanged looks, but Binyamin wasn’t done. “It’s plain and pashut not right. These women, they say they’ll support, and at first they do, but then five years later, ‘it’s too hard.’ Of course it’s hard, but that’s part of getting the zechus of your husband’s learning.” 

It was too ridiculous, and we almost burst out laughing, except for the fact that this friend was dead serious. 

“It’s a good thing, then, that your shver has a good job,” Nachi answered evenly. I thought of this guy’s wife. If this was his expectation of her, I could only hope their road has no bumps.