Mr. Veggie and I are in that weird place where we’re not quite sure what to call each other in public. “Boyfriend”/”girlfriend” sounds like he just asked me to the eighth grade dance. And I certainly can’t use our pet names in public. (Immigration: Why are you applying for this visa. Me: My um… lovey… is a full-time student?)

But “fiance” has just never sounded right to us. Plus, if I introduce myself as Mr. Veg’s fiance it inevitably leads to long conversations about wedding planning and proposals and sometimes I just don’t want to get into all that with strangers (that’s why I have the hive, right?).

Luckily here in New Zealand the use of the word “partner” is fairly common, and we’ve taken to using that pretty often. But it does sound pretty formal, and since I have a boyish name can lead to some mild, yet entertaining, confusion.

So, we don’t really have this problem solved, but occasionally if I’m talking to a stranger, who I’ll likely never see again, and Mr. Veggie is out of earshot, and it just seems convenient, I’ll label Mr. Veggie as my “husband”.

I don’t do it very often, but when I do it always makes me smile. I get a little giddy. I feel mischievous. It’s like shaking your Christmas presents to try to figure out what’s inside (which I never do) or skipping ahead to the last page of a novel to find out the ending (which sometimes I do). I get a little embarrassed and look around to see if anyone we know might have overheard my white lie.

But yesterday, when we got to the check-out at the supermarket, each struggling with our overloaded baskets because we definitely weren’t going to buy enough to justify a full shopping cart, I, of course, decided I needed to go back to grab one more thing. Mr. Veg started to unload his 50 kg basket onto the conveyor belt and a woman stepped behind him in the line. I was coming back up the aisle and overheard this tidbit.

Mr. Veggie: “Um excuse me, but my wife just ran to grab one more thing, she’ll be right back”.

Be still my heart. He does it too! I melted.

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