A good wife will not forget her mise en place. My last session cancels for the day, so I decide the effort for dinner will be paramount tonight. Purchases at the Longington Organicist included radicchio and swiss chard that I will grill, and two fresh red snappers I will filet and paint with olive oil and capers. Ian will smell the house filling with good things, the best things, as he walks through the door.
It is the first absolutely perfect night of the summer.
I don a mustard-colored apron, one I remember asking for on our wedding registry, and start gathering what I’ll need to cook tonight. The house’s kitchen is one of the things that sold us on the property, which we moved into right after we got married, its white marble countertops and stainless steel appliances still looking just as new two years down the line as it did the day we moved in. I never feel more adult then when I am standing here, prepping dinner for Ian and me, in this kitchen, in this house, in this school district, in this zip code.
I go to the bathroom, muscle memory flicking off the light switch, my gaze instead watching my feet trace the lines of the hardwood floorboards as I’m tightrope-walking a seam.
“Boo,” I hear in whisper, and subsequently jump ten feet in the air. Ian’s standing in the middle of the kitchen with a bouquet of white Gerber daisies.
“You weren’t supposed to be here yet,” I say when I return back to Earth.
“You weren’t supposed to be here yet,” he replies.
I can just laugh. I can just smile. I can just fall into him, apron and all.
I don’t know if it’s the summer sun that’s breaking through the French doors I’ve propped open onto the back patio, or that Ian has by some force of god stepped away from his desk at the firm in Stamford, or that I am here, in his Connecticut kitchen, as his wife, like out of a beach bestseller and not counseling a couple on their deteriorating marriage at five P.M. on a Wednesday, but it is something. Ian puts down the flowers—dangerously close to the fish—and picks me up, all five feet of me, and carries me to our bedroom. And although there is every bit of soft romance to Ian literally whisking me off my feet, there is nothing coy about what he does when he has me against our sheets. He reaches up into my dress to remove what is underneath, shimmies down his own pants to his ankles, and pushes me down onto him. He pulls me in against his chest, his teeth against my neck, and as he comes, I wrap my hands around his necktie. I am still in the apron.