“Richard, there’s been an accident, I’m going to be late.”
“Are you okay?” asked Richard.
“I’m fine, but traffic is going to be snarled for hours. You may as well go ahead and have dinner without me.”
“I’ll save you something for you,” he said.
Richard ran to the store and raided the deli of its most decadent morsels. He grabbed a bottle of cabernet. Heading to the check out, he passed the floral department. The clerk smiled at him as she wrapped up three dozen roses to throw away.
“Are you getting rid of those?” he asked.
“I sure am. They won’t last another day,” she said.
“Can I take them off your hands?”
“I can’t give them to you, I would have to sell them to you. However, I’m going on break soon. I can leave them outside before I take them to the dumpster. If they aren’t there when I get back, I’ll assume someone took them to the dumpster for me,” she said with a wink.
Richard grabbed the roses on the way to the car.
Once home, he rummaged through the linen closet for a table cloth then headed to the living room. He cleared the coffee table for the tablecloth. He raided the china hutch for plates, napkins and candles. For the final touch, a bud vase with a single rose.
Grabbing the rest of the roses, he started in the laundry room and left a trail of petals leading into the living room. With over two dozen roses left, he spread petals over the living room floor.
He stood back admiring his work.
What to wear. He changed into a black t-shirt and silver slacks.
His stomach growled. Grabbing a box of raisins from the pantry, he returned to the living room to wait.
Laying on the sofa, he removed a raisin from the box, threw it into the air and caught it with his mouth. Two raisins took flight, one landed in his mouth, the other deflected off his chin onto his chest. Two more raisins flew, then three. With the box emptied, he rounded up the misfires, eating them at his leisure.
Only one hour had passed since my call.
Richard turned on the television. A lone raisin rolled down a wrinkle on his t-shirt and came to rest on his right side. He leaned back on the sofa causing the raisin to follow the track made by his shirt toward his back.
Uncomfortable, he laid down on his left side. The raisin moved with him. A fold had formed and the raisin nestled into the middle of his back.
He fell asleep.
The flash of headlights woke him. Hearing the garage door opening, he grabbed the goody platter from the refrigerator. He lit the candles, opened the wine, and cued up the stereo. He laid back down on the sofa.
I entered a darkened house. The smell of roast garlic mingled with roses. Looking down, a trail of rose petals led the way.
I followed the rose petals through the house to the living room.
Nat King Cole’s voice floated through the air, “…the evening breeze caressed the trees, tenderly. The trembling trees embraced the breeze tenderly…”
The smell of roses permeated the air. Two wine glasses reflected a bottle of cabernet in the candle light. A platter with sliced baguette, roasted garlic, paté, humus, sliced strawberries and peeled grapes, surrounded by assorted cheeses. Linen napkins with brass rings lay upon two china plates.
“…then you and I came wandering by and lost in a sigh were we…”
Laying on the sofa, Richard said, “Welcome home, honey, I’ve prepared dinner.”
“Did I forget our anniversary? I know it’s not Valentine’s Day.”
Sitting up he said, “Can’t a man make dinner for his wife? Come on, sit down and enjoy.” He patted the seat next to him.
“Richard, this is so amazing, thank you.”
He spread paté on a slice of baguette then fed it to me. I sucked some of the paté from his finger tips.
“…The shore was kissed by sea and mist tenderly. I can’t forget how two hearts met breathlessly…”
“I see you are wearing my favorite outfit.”
A wicked smile spread across his face as he said, “You noticed, huh.”
“Would you like a glass of wine?” he asked reaching for the bottle.
A look of surprise crossed his face as he leaned forward.
“Is everything all right?”
“I’ll let you know in just a minute,” he said reaching around behind his back. He put his hand into the back of his pants, fished around, smiled and drew out something small and brown. He popped it into his mouth and chewed.
Flabbergasted, I said, “Was that ah, ah, ah.”
I could not bring myself to say what I thought aloud.
“Yummy,” he said with satisfaction.
“Oh, no, no, no, no, no,” I stammered. “You didn’t.”
“I didn’t what?” he asked arching one eyebrow.
“Richard, you just ate poop.”
“I did not.”
“You did too, I just saw you.”
“Fannie you should see the look on your face. By the way, I did not eat poop, as you so delicately put it, I just ate a raisin.”
“A raisin?” I asked, my mind still reeling.
“Yeah, I was hungry and didn’t want to finish off our little meal here so I ate a box of raisins to tide me over. While I was waiting, I got bored and starting tossing them in the air and catching them with my mouth. I missed a few times, but I thought I found ‘em all.”
“You just ate a raisin off your butt.”
“That’s the beauty of it, the five second rule doesn’t apply.”
“I think I’m gonna to be sick.”
“It was just a raisin.”
“That’s not what it looked like.”
“I think I finally bested you in our grosser than gross contest,” he said with pride. “How many years have we been married?”
I stared at him.
“Never mind,” he said. “Here have a glass of wine, it will take your mind off it.”
I don’t remember drinking it, but I realized I held an empty glass.
“Do you want a refill?” he asked.
I nodded, still in shock.
“I suppose this means we won’t be having sex later.” he said.
Dark clouds formed in front of my face.
“I’ll take that as a no,” he said.
“…your arms opened wide and closed me inside, you took my lips, you took my love so tenderly…”
*Lyrics to “Tenderly” written by Jack Lawrence. Copyright 1946 by Edwin H. Morris & Company, Inc.