I tucked my children in, kissed them on their foreheads, then switched out the light and headed to the kitchen, hoping that the rice wasn’t too badly burnt.
I glimpsed the time on my phone: 7:15PM. Naomi would be home any minute and the curry wasn’t even ready yet. And who knew if it would be edible? Even though I’d followed the recipe to the letter, not straying even a gram or liter over or under, that never stopped my meals sucking in the past.
Diligently I worked to get the food ready, listening for the door, burning one too many fingers in my haste.
I checked my phone again, as I put the finishing touches to our plates and set them on the table. 7:50. Where the heck was she?
I dug my fork into my food, stole a bite as I pressed the phone to my ear. It rang and rang for what seemed like ages, until finally she picked up.
“Don’t be mad,” was the first thing she said, her voice heavy with guilt.
“Please tell me you’re on your way.”
Silence. Well, that said it all.
“I’m sorry, baby, I can’t get out just now. It’s crazy here.”
Now it was my turn to add to the silence.
“Dak’?” A nickname she’d only been using the past year or so. All of a sudden I didn’t like it; all of a sudden it irritated me. At that moment everything irritated me.
“Maybe you should just stay there tonight then,” I said, and hung up on her.
I regretted it almost as soon as the call ended. I always did when I overreacted.
“Are you feeling better?” she asked a few minutes later, when I called back. There wasn’t a hint of animosity in her voice. She never held my tantrums against me. She was so used to my weird personality quirks, which she’d once called adorable.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean that. I’m being crazy,” I said, voice filled with remorse. “I haven’t spent a night away from you since you became my wife, and I’m not about to start now.”
She laughed. “I love all of your crazy. I’ll be home as soon as I can, I promise.”
We exchanged sickeningly touching I love yous, then I let her get back to work. I spent the rest of the evening wondering how she’d been so patient with me these past four years. I’d gotten most of my neurosis under control, but it crept up every now and then, just to remind me how fragile I still was.
I’d drifted off to sleep some time after eight, exhausted and unable to keep my eyes open. I didn’t know what time it was when I felt slightly chilled hands slip beneath my nightgown and caress my back, pulling me from slumber.
Warm lips peppered the exposed parts of my shoulders with kisses; hands swept my hair away so that the mouth could claim my neck.