He walked up behind me in the kitchen as I chopped up the lettuce to put in the salad, it was our normal routine….
He wrapped his arms around my waist and gently enveloped me as his lips touched the base of my neck in a tender kiss hello. I smiled. “What are you doing?” I asked. He kissed my neck again, tickling me, making me giggle. “I’m kissing my wife,” he replied. “What are you doing?” He responded, in his deep melodic voice that I so loved. I turned around to face him, wrapping my arms around his neck and kissing him on the lips. It was a deep kiss, a tender kiss, a prelude if you will, of things to come…
I pulled away, my lips lingering close to his and held his face in my hands, “I’m kissing my husband; that’s what I’m doing.”
He smiled that beautiful smile that melted every part of me and held me close. We stood there in an embrace for a long time, my head leaning on his strong chest as I listened to his heart beat. It was as if nothing else mattered; because in that moment, nothing did. There were no bills to be paid, no kids to referee, no family members to interfere, no stresses of life… It was just us. Him and me and what we felt for each other.
“Mom! Mom!” I looked up; alarmed at the steak that I was grilling; now charred and burned. My son stared at me with a puzzled expression. “What are you doing Mom?” “The steak is burning.” “Oh, sweetie, I’m sorry,” I said, as I turned the burner off and moved the pan off of the stove. I wiped my hand on my apron and rested my hand on my neck as a tear silently fell ever so softly down my cheek… “Are you ok?” He asked. “I’m… I’ll be fine.” I responded quickly. I smiled at him with the best fake smile that I could muster, “Why don’t you go get your homework done? I’ll be fine.” I patted his shoulder as he walked away and smiled again, as if to reassure him that I was indeed okay. But I wasn’t.
I could still feel his lips on my neck; his arms around my waist. But it wasn’t real. His deep voice was now only heard in my dreams and his laughter was only an echo of a dream.
He was gone.
I longed for those hugs at the end of the day. I craved those lingering kisses that reminded me of the infancy of our marriage. The ones I so often took for granted. I only had to close my eyes to see him here with me. I only had to breathe and I could feel his lips on the nape of my neck once again.
The reality of our love was now only a dream. A dream that I didn’t want to wake up from. The reality of a life without him was too much to bare. “What are you doing woman?” I heard him whisper in my ear. “Missing you, boy.” I responded to the air. “Live baby.” He said. “You’ve got to live. Let me go.”
The tears fell in streams now, ignoring my silent pleas to stop. “I can’t,” I whispered back. “I love you too much.” “Let me go woman.” He whispered, his deep gruff voice haunting me. “Let me go.”