“Perfectly good!” Edgar sat up and leaned back against the headboard. “Darling, they were on their last leg, if you’ll pardon the odd metaphor. Those old shoes couldn’t hold air, much less water; your feet were coated in mud each time you took them off. It’s high time you had a new pair. I don’t need to buy your new shoes for you. You’re perfectly free to go out and buy anything you need and ’most anything you want!”
They’d had this conversation so many times in the past ten years that Edgar knew every dead end it held. He scowled at his wife’s slender back as she turned from him, scooped up the offending shoes and headed for the bedroom door.
She spoke as she walked. “I know, my sweet. I know we have plenty of money for these things, but I hate to throw it around. Who knows what’s coming further down the line? Maybe the kids will need help.”
Edgar tapped the paper with his broad fingertips. “Lu, the kids are provided for. Their kids are provided for. We’re provided for. This isn’t the old days, sweetheart. There was a point to all the scrimping and saving back then. You—we don’t need to do it now.”
Luella looked back from the doorway, her eyebrows lifted in an apologetic grimace. “I know, honey. I know I make you crazy by being so careful, but . . . I can’t help it. I grew up poor, and you and I started out poor. I don’t want to play that song again. Ever.” She disappeared down the hallway to the kitchen.
She’ll probably try to resuscitate her shoes, Edgar thought. He murmured, “But you’re living like you’re still poor, Lu.” He picked up the newspaper, willing away the unsettled feeling this talk always produced, and turned to the comics.