“Vignettes: the difference between ‘in love’ and ‘love'”
I really liked this challenge, and I think this might be a jumping off point for a longer, more intricate piece.
Please feel free to comment or leave feedback. Thanks again to Wendryn for the challenge.
I spent the morning decorating the living room, stretching up to spots on the wall that my wife couldn’t reach. We picked out the “Feliz Cumpleanos” and “Happy Birthday” banners. We always sang both songs for birthdays, why not both banners, she said. I tied up matching, bilingual balloons to the chairs lined up against the wall. She walked in and out of the living room, fattening the table with armfuls of chicken, rice and pudding on metal trays. She didn’t need help, she said, just finish decorating the room.
The guests started coming as I placed the last blue streamer across the ceiling. Cousins, co-workers, even women from the park she told me she despised. Las detesto, she said, but she had to try to like them—Joshua would grow up with their children.
Two men showed up. One was a cousin’s boyfriend, a new guy I only heard about, who preferred art galleries to baseball games. The other I had never met before—he was married to one of the women from the park. He held his blackberry tightly in one hand, a beer in the other. Make conversation, she said, I want you to get to know them.
As the hour passed, I made sure to disappear among the five-year olds and thirty-five year olds that cluttered the designated party area. I thought of sneaking into my bedroom, but that could start an argument later. I ended up in the kitchen, with the extra supply of napkins and paper plates and chips and iced tea. I cracked open a beer, and peered out the window at the cloudy sky that set over the backyard. Leaves had gathered on the empty swing seats. I took a few sips before she walked in, too prematurely for me, and asked me to help her serve the food.
I let her lead the way and she passed the front door when it opened with a screech.
I caught the scent of Eva’s perfume before she ever stepped inside.
They gave each other a kiss hello, and Eva apologized for the traffic. They said things to each other that I can’t remember, and Eva handed her a large plastic-covered tray. She walked away with it, towards the living room. I heard Joshua shout her name, and he ran towards her, grabbing a hold of her legs. He tugged her jacket, asking for a kiss. She bent over and held his face, leaving a red cloud on his forehead. She looked up at me, her voice suddenly quiet.
I nodded and I think I said hello. Joshua grabbed her hand and they drifted towards the living room.
I headed back to the kitchen, and grabbed my bottle of beer. I tossed about half of it down my throat in one gulp. I peered out the kitchen window, at the empty swing set and see-saw. They swayed with a creak under that cloudy mid-November sky.
She still smelled like Spring.