Breakfasts take preparation. She walked into the kitchen to find him in his button-down shirt but still without his dress pants. His tie was flipped over his shoulder to keep it from mixing with the eggs he was scrambling. She shifted her weight in the doorway, wondering if he could feel the love exuding from her or from him. She looked down the moment he turned. In three strides he crossed the linoleum tile, kissing her swiftly on the mouth, taking her aback. He then bent to kiss her stomach, asking if she wanted avocado in her eggs.
The magic lost. The same tears barely filtered and reused. They still take walks around the neighborhood. They do not hold hands. He does not kiss her before work. The house feels smaller, with one door permanently closed. They ate dinner one night in front of the television. They endured a short but tense conversation about repainting the room. The room remained unpainted and dinner in front of the television became frequent.
She was driving home from the park. He had gotten off work early and given her a call, wanting to take the pair of them out to eat. She called to the boy, still on the swings, and they loaded into the car. The boy sat contently in the back seat, strapped in tight. He kept making faces for the rearview mirror, hoping every time to make her laugh. Last week for Mothers’ Day his father had coaxed him to wake her up in the morning by saying, “Mommy, you have the most beautiful laugh in the world.” She had smiled, watching her man smirk, arms crossed, in the doorway. At dinner she would tell him the story of the boy gathering the courage to go down the big slide.
She sits on the porch. Raspberries are in season again. The house behind her feels quiet. She smashes the fruit forcefully against the roof of her mouth. They slept in separate beds three months after it happened. He left in a taxi three months after that. He left in a taxi that morning. She could not taste the color of the fruit. She curled her legs onto the chair and into herself, abandoning the weight of her own footsteps.
She crushed the raspberries against the roof of her mouth, feeling them burst as she placed them one by one, savoring the texture and the taste of the color. She sat in a wicker chair on the porch, her legs curled and tucked into herself. He rode by on his bike, showing off for her amusement. She smiled at her man, riding out in front of her lawn and her house. She let the smell of fresh paint waft over her. She liked the way it mixed with the smell of sun-drenched grass and sun-kissed fruit. She stood to take a walk with him around the new neighborhood. They held hands the entire way. She liked their new life inside their new walls.
The truck struck the passenger’s side of the car. Her head hit the side window. She woke up hours later with just her husband at her side.
The house felt complete now. There was the bedroom for sleeping and the boy’s room for story telling and the kitchen for cooking lessons and the bright room upstairs for painting. She liked leaving the curtains open, letting the sun wake her. She cut the edges off peanut butter sandwiches and so did the boy, her man laughing at the pair of them, insisting it all tasted the same. Every day was filled with laughter, and every night was filled with peace.