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by Jazz Bass
She had been on her feet for hours. from the time she got up out of her chair where she had sat and had her morning coffee and cigarette, it had been "one of those days". it would be understatement to say her shift at work was stressful.
She walked into the house, dropped her purse on the table. she let her shoulders sag for a moment, took a deep breath and gave a short prayer of thanks for having been able to get through the madness that had descended on her workplace. "oh, to sit down for just a moment and think of nothing!" was what she wanted. so she did.
He came in the door, almost bouncing, just at the joy to be home again. despite being worn "slap out", as the saying goes, he knew that the reason for all his change was already home and, most likely, looking forward to his presence. they had laughed about that before, the pun of each other's presence being the best present a person could get, but then again, they were so in love that their friends were envious. respectful but envious. now that's a problem we should all have.
"hi honey." she said as he walked toward her. "hi baby." he replied, reaching down to hug her neck and stopping to rub her shoulders. electricity shot through both of them, a manifestation of the connection that they were blessed with, and it made them both feel better instantly. it was still there after all those years, after all that time they had shared from those first moments of wonder and discovery. "i gotta pee, i'll be back in a second. you need anything?" he asked as he stepped away quickly to answer the call of the full bladder that comes with drinking too much water on the drive home. "i was thinking i'd like something to drink but i'm too tired to get up and get it right now.", she said. "ok, i'll get you something when i'm finished" he hollered from the bathroom. "just wash your hands first", they both said in tandem, her as an admonition to him and him in tribute to her request that he not forget there is a lady in the house who might not be made of snips and snails and puppy dog tails like most boys are. they laughed hard at each other, a sign of respect they shared.
He came in, shook the last drops of water off his hands toward her as proof he was sanitary and they shared a grin. taking a glass from the shelf and rinsing it out in the sink, he yelled into the living room "so did you want a beer, water or a glass of wine, babe?" and she replied "i'm too tired to make that decision, sweetheart, please surprise me." "please", he thought to himself, "she said please. i'll surprise her alright!". walking out of the kitchen, he put down a glass of chilled wine on the table for her, bent to kiss her gently and exhaled from the electric feeling again. "why was it" he thought " that kisses from her take my breath away like that?" he really didn't want to understand it because he already knew on a deeper level that some things just are. whatever grace and spark of the divine that was manifest in their relationship had just grown more and more intense as the seasons passed. "had it really been so long ago?", he thought. it just seems like it was recently they had met...but that was an o.k. feeling, he thought, because at the beginning, it felt like they had always been together and that was a great gift during the courtship.
he stopped to rub her neck this time and they talked about their day, sharing the high and low points and even being glad for the stress of success, for with it came pride in each other, joy in the work that they did and truly it was a reflection of the character of the individuals that they were. "that feels so good, baby. i will give you five hours to stop it" she purred. "i wish i could do it for five hours, darling" he said with that thick southern accent, really emphasizing the darling part. "but if i did i'd have to charge you overtime." still, it was relaxing and the first time she remembered that day she had not been preoccupied with something. he had always been able to do that, if even for a moment, to transport her away from the stress and make her feel special like no one else could. it was their gift.
she took his hand in hers and held tightly. learning to trust and lean on him had been easier than she had imagined, especially after all the hurt she had experienced. "i've got what i wanted!" she thought and softly kissed his fingers, which smelled of some flowery soap that she had gotten at his insistence. he always insisted that she get things that were "girly girl" and said "a woman should indulge herself where she can, because girly things make her happy". he was always spouting something appropriate like that. he understood. not just powder and paint and dress up time but he understood her and that was still an amazing quality in her eyes. it was their gift.
he took his hand away and told her to keep her eyes closed, that he had a surprise for her and not to spoil it. she acquiesced to his request and waited as the tingle of excitement got more and more powerful. "how can any man have this effect on a woman and how did i get lucky enough to have THIS man effect ME this way?", she thought, "and WHAT does he have up his sleeve this time?". he walked into the room and breezed past her "now?" she asked. "no, not yet!" he replied "keep 'em shut". he walked out again and she heard him running water, mumbling to the faucet to hurry up with the hot water already. "what a goof!" she thought, "but he's MY goof!" that thought made her happy and she drew on it throughout her day, especially when things were tough. he did the same when things got tough for him, whatever the situation, he had a precious jewel in her that was beyond riches and wealth and he appreciated it.
"ok, open 'em up" he said after settling in front of her. she opened her eyes to see he had a basin of hot water, soap, washcloth, a towel and lotion. "what ARE you up to, my sweet man?" she asked. "what do you think, brainiac, i'm fixing to paint the eaves?" he grinned like he always did and they locked eyes like they were prone to do. after a few moments, he looked at her feet and began to unlace her shoes. "now, i know you are tired, i know you are worn out and i know your feet hurt...gimme them socks" he said as he took her shoes off. he pulled one sock off with his teeth, growling like a dog and she pushed him back on his butt with her other foot, making some comment about socks cost money, you know. "well, you can wear some of mine, then", he answered, coming up on his haunches and smiling.
He took her left foot in his hand and set it into the basin of hot water. taking a little of the soap in his hands, he began a sudsy massage and washing job that made the electricity shoot through her again. he does so much with a look or a touch, she thought to herself, how does it happen, why does it work and then she forgot all her thoughts and drifted to a quiet restful place and only felt his hands on her. he worked her foot from the top, from the bottom, massaging her heel, her toes, her instep and up her ankle. switching feet, he kissed her toes and she giggled. "you don't know where them toes have been", she said. "don't matter none" he replied, "wherever they went, we're kosher." everything they said to each other illustrated the rapport they shared. they were lucky and blessed to have communication like that and they both knew it. taking her right foot, he repeated the sequence of washing and massaging, taking some time to try to send his energy into her through his fingertips. he was always trying to send his energy to her through his fingers.....they would lay in bed at night and talk and he would trace the outline of her body, almost not touching her and feeling electric himself. he only hoped she felt something like he did and in her eyes, he could see that she did. it made life better, it was their gift.
He took the towel and dried her feet, sliding the basin out of the way and producing the softest comforter they had, he asked if she would lay next to him for a few minutes. she slipped out of the chair, tingling from head to toe (his touch on her feet had always had that effect and they both knew it), and lay down. he put his arm around her and lay behind her, moving her hair aside so he could kiss her neck. "i love you, i love you, i love you" he said softly as he put his arm around her and pulled her tight. they were spooned up on the floor, and you couldn't have put a business card between them. he began to sing in a deep and soothing voice. something she had never heard before and frankly, neither had he, for there was part of the two of them that manifested itself in songs and poems and the words just came out without too much thought at all. it was a feeling and he always had it. he carried it in his heart and he was glad to have it. that was part of their gift.
she pulled off his shirt and he took off her blouse and laid her on her tummy. trying to burn every sight, thought and touch into his memory, he rubbed her back for her. each time he got to the base of her spine, he went lower onto her buttocks, sending chills through her "you ok?" he asked. "oh yesssssssssssss!" she replied, "just wonderful." "ok then, he said with a smile and leaned down to kiss her back. he got up on his knees and worked his way down her legs, kneading the muscles and getting the relaxation she longed for to happen. as he worked his way up to her neck and shoulders, he paused and gave thanks. working her shoulders and going from her scalp to her spine, he showed her the love in his heart and she felt it. she could feel him across the country was her only thought as the passion burned brighter.
they made love.
he kissed her again and got up to go make something to eat. she followed him in a few moments and shooed him out of the kitchen. she threw this together and got that out and fixed him a meal fit for a king, which was fitting because he was the king of her heart and a gentle, kind and noble ruler he was. he thanked her for the sandwich and ate with gusto. he loved anything she made, from butter beans, squash and cornbread to desserts. she had a knack for cooking. he had a knack for eating. they were a good match.
"what time is church?", he asked. "same time as it always is", she replied. "oh, too early then" he grinned. they went to sleep in each others arms after saying prayers of thanks for good and bad times, for their lives and their love and all the ones who mattered. talk about a gift!!!