Chris Dean is a native of Cicero, Illinois. Traveling throughout the American west, this writer has worked as a gold miner, truck driver, musician, and concert promoter. Currently Chris farms near Des Moines; when the snow flies it’s off to Nevada for tournament poker.
THE MOMENT by Chris Dean
She wakens in the morning slow. There is no telling who she is, not for a few seconds. Alicia.
Smells and clatter from the kitchen remind her that she does not live alone. She breathes in the redolent scent of eggs and her tongue longs for orange juice. Never once did she drink fresh squeezed before Rob. How she rated a man who cooked, cleaned, and enjoyed yard work was a large mystery. He had his own leather raking hat, for god sakes. And she? Alicia preferred a lazy lifestyle. Take-out food.
But they mesh. Like now, with her lounging and kicking the counterpane around, waiting for his sweet voice to call. Was this meshing? He seemed happy and she most certainly was.
The problem with a beautiful man like Robert Lawrence Haines was quite obvious. He had better not ever think about leaving. It terrified her, it truly did. This was her private nightmare. The lonlies and the dust bunnies and her cold sores would all come creeping back.
Squelching all those ugly thoughts, she hugs herself, squashing breasts and digging sharp fingernails into her flappy biceps. He isn’t going anywhere. Not ever! Rob wasn’t like that. It would ruin her for life and he knew it.
She yawns like a sailor, nearly breaking her jaw in two. What time is it? Early, Rob gets up early. She quickly runs through a mental breakdown of what Saturday will bring. Breakfast and hugs first. A huge hair tousle and a face-kissing contest. Oh God, he had the most wonderful sparkling blue eyes she had ever seen. How did she rate such eyes?
After they were done with breakfast he was going to do something with sticks. He had stacks of sticks that needed bundling with string. She would offer to help, with a shallow pink smile and happy eyes (and he had better not make her go out there).
Instead of getting dirty, and splinters, Alicia might sort magazines. In the den there were at least as many Newsweek and Time magazines as there were sticks in the garage. Yes, television and magazine sorting sounded nice on a sunny morning. What was it about the weather that put everyone in such a good mood on days like this? Was she humming to herself? She was, something old and sweet. This was definitely a sign of good moodiness.
Later that day they were going to cram recyclables into the Volvo and drive up to that windy place on 53rd. Then shopping. The library, a movie, or paint ball after that. They had never actually paint balled together yet, but they had the suits and equipment. They would barrage one another like foolish children and laugh, eventually. She’d promised.
Sniff Sniff. Crispy bacon smell. Time to get up. She begins unfolding her long body out of bed. Creaky tendons and muscles burn as they stretch. Her transition from sleepyhead to awake Alicia is perfectly timed; a hearty, “Honey!” resounds from the kitchen. “Who’s hungry?”
She’s hungry. To fill her tummy and to fill her eyes with his buff masculine form. Rob’s a shapely man with tender rose lips and those scintillating eyes. To see him domestic at the stove with an old fashioned checkered apron round his waist is such a turn on. She dashes to the bathroom to splash water and brush teeth.
The bathroom mirror is not a pretty picture. She is wearing a blond mop and her cheeks are sleep-splotchy. Luckily Rob does not care about such things. He likes white teeth and minty kisses though so she brushes like crazy.
Her insides are bubbling with joy as she dances down the hall to the kitchen. There he is, dishing out steaming eggs onto their plates. “Morning sleepyhead,” he calls with a grin.
Rushing after him, she gives his cute buns a squeeze and corrals him at the stove. “Kiss me.”
It is a very involved interlude which leaves her breathless. When he releases her trembling body, she has burnt lips and goose bumps. Sagging onto a chair, she asks, “Was that a free sample? Because if I have to pay for that kiss I want you to know I don’t have a million dollars.”
“Are you saying that kiss was worth a million dollars?” He’s sitting across from her, pepper shaker poised over his eggs. “Because if that’s true I’d say I need to get those kisses on the open market.” Ignoring her scrunchy frown, he bobs that yellow shaker and continues gleefully, “I can quit my job at the hospital and you’ll never have to overhaul another engine.”
As manager at Anderson Motors she never worked on the cars, as he knew very well. Her voice hops teasingly. “I like being a grease monkey.” A dainty bite of buttered toast. “I’ve got grease in my blood.”
“That sounds bad. You’d better come into the lab for a checkup.”
“Will there be kisses involved?”
“At my work? No, I couldn’t do that.”
“Then cancel my appointment. And you had better not be selling those kisses on the street either.”
“I was thinking maybe an infomercial.”
She arches an eyebrow. “Don’t think so.”
He drones, “Okay, dear.” Then a happy smile.
“You like being my bitch, don’t deny it.”
His look is priceless. Head jogged back, chin tucked almost onto his brown sweater. Eyes nearly turquoise with humor. Priceless. “Is that what I am.”
“Until I’m through with you.”
He has the white pitcher up and she tips her glass. The dark saffron liquid sloshes in. While she sips the cool, tangy juice, he queries affably, “And when will you be through with me? I’ll have to make arrangements.”
“Oh? Don’t be making those arrangements quite yet, Sir Galahad.”
“Lancelot. He was the satyr.”
“They all were back then. And I’ll let you know when I’m throwing you out of the castle.” They lock eyes. Several moments pass. She swears she can hear his heart beating. Hers is thudding like mad. Her face is flushed and she hides it behind a nibble of toast. “Maybe after a few more months,” she tells him blithely.
A forkful of egg raises and stops. “You may find it harder—” He gulps the egg down. “To get rid of me than you think.”
Oh-God-does-she-love-hearing-that. She’s blushing now, she’s sure of it. Rob’s suddenly embarrassed the way that men get and he attacks his breakfast with zeal. She watches, wondering if she loves him yet. An impulse to probe further into his mind sweeps over her and she asks, “And what if I don’t ever want you to leave?”
A child’s smile, full of purity and joy, captures his face. He cannot speak. Then, “We’ll just have to make the best of things. “ He begins eating again, slowly.
It is at this moment that Alicia knows she’s in love. It is the quietude in the kitchen around them and the palpable bond between them. The warm sparks inside her and the way he’s sitting there, as if he has nothing better to do than to stir the food around on his plate. She knows. She knows that he is listening to her breathing and his blood is rushing too. Alicia loves this wonderful man of hers. She truly does.