Ann reaches across her lover and pulls the curtain back. The early-spring sun caresses her arm as she investigates the polka-dots.
“Ladybugs!” she sings, like a little girl discovering something for the first time.
She can be that way with him — child-like and silly. For the first time in a long time, she feels safe enough to play. There aren’t any big monsters lurking under the bed, as far as she can tell.
No, life with him is good and easy — as good and easy as this lazy Sunday afternoon, lying here with him, in and out of sleep and in and out of each other. Life with him is as good and easy as the red polka-dotted polka dots leisurely marking time, up and down the sun-warmed window.
“I’ll be right back,” she says excitedly as she pulls an old t-shirt over her head, and he tugs it down her bare back. “Do you need anything?”
“I’ve got you,” he smiles, as he playfully grabs at her feet.
“I mean from downstairs, silly,” she says, shaking her head.
She still isn’t used to how much he loves her.
“We feed them apple slices,” Beth had told her. They were sitting in the park watching Zoey watching a ladybug crawl up her arm.
“She catches them and keeps them in a goldfish bowl in her room, don’t you, Zoey?”
“Everyone needs someone to watch out for them, Mom,” Zoey explained dramatically.
Ann watched as Beth pulled Zoey’s sweatshirt over her head and tugged it down to her waist.
“It’s getting chilly out,” she said.
“OK, Mom.” Zoey giggled, then ran off.
She and her friend Josh were playing house on the bench nearby.
“Be careful,” he called out to her. “There’s a bee in the kitchen,” he said, pointing to the swing set.
Ann brought a bowlful of apple slices back to bed with her.
“Here,” she says to the ladybugs in the window.
“Here,” she says, smiling at her lover, “I thought you might be hungry.”
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©2010, Jennifer Payne