“Ken, I’m feeling hungry. Can you get a pizza when you’re going out?” I ask.
He grimaces first, and then smiles. “Of course dear… I’ll go now”, he says. He grabs his jacket and then bends down and gives my stomach a kiss. He gets up, smiles and goes out the door. I watch him go from the door. Involuntarily, a tear slides down my cheek as I go back inside.
He was working late again. I knew better than to wait for him, so I’d already gone. I smiled as I saw his car back into the garage.
“Oh what a day, Liz… I swear I’m so dog tired that I’ll fall asleep the moment I sit on the couch”, he declared, coming in the back door and into the kitchen.
“I think I can make that tiredness vanish, dear”, I said. Leaning in to him, I whispered. He smiled, swept me off my feet and kissed me.
“This news needs to be celebrated with chocolate”, he said. He just turned and went right back out, but not before he shouted in the driveway, “I’m going to be a dad, hear that world? I’m going to be a dad soon!”
I set up the table. Pizza is always my favorite, but he’s late. Then again, I knew he’d be late. It’s been half hour and two now since he left. Humming to myself, I smile and stroke my stomach.
“Go to sleep, my angel. You’re my star. Daddy will get back soon.”
I hear his footsteps approach. He enters through the kitchen door, a large pizza box in one hand, a grocery bag in the other. “Why does Dominos’ have to be so goddamn busy on a Sunday night?” he sighs, placing both items on the kitchen counter, and then goes into the living room and flops down on the couch.
“Thanks honey”, I call after him. I look in the bag first. I smile. It was there. Then again, I knew that too.
The snow was falling as I left the clinic. I always loved the snow, for I met Ken for the first time in the park when it was snowing. It was love at first sight. For him too, or so he said… I was happy. He was too, I felt. We dated for just three months before he popped the question, at that same bench where we had first met. I accepted. When I saw the bench, I smiled. Ah! Memories…
I took a turn down 24th and Main, and nearly ran into someone. She avoided me, telling a quick “Watch it lady”, and walking away. I turned the other side, only to watch something I didn’t want to. I stood there, transfixed for a few moments. Then it was over, and I walked back home. Maybe it’s my imagination, I told myself. The next few days, I went back to the corner of 24th and Main, and each day, I saw the same mirage. That was when I told myself, “That’s no mirage.”
I see him watching the Knicks game. He’s shouting out, “For God’s sake Marbury! That was a give away, that turnover. That was a pathetic phase of the game, that quarter.” I take the cue. He doesn’t want to really watch the game anymore, not now that the Knicks are probably losing. “Come have the pizza before it becomes cold”, I tell him. He willingly agrees. He looks in the bag, takes out a banana, peels it and cuts it into slices. He puts them on his slice and takes a bite. “You and your weird choices of topping”, I laugh. “You and your allergies”, he mocks me right back.
Taking a slice on a plate, he says he has some work in the basement and heads off. A moment later, I hear him stumble down the stairs. I open the door to the basement and look down. He is smiling, and staring back at me. I swear he even winks at me, or is it my imagination again? “Well, if it is the same imagination with which I saw him kiss another woman all those days, that’s no mirage”, I say to myself and leave him to his work.
I sit on the stool beside the counter, gently stroking my stomach. “It’s all over my angel. No one will hurt us now.” I scratch my forearm absentmindedly as I hum to myself. That banana from last night’s trash came in handy. He fell for it.
But then again, I knew that.