Fall Dance
September 9, 2013

The shriek was so unexpected and startling, a tsunami of coffee sloshed out of his mug in a hot wave as he jumped at the sound.

“What’s wrong?” he yelled, running out of the kitchen and through the open back door.

Barefoot, in her nightgown, she stood in the center of the yard with her arms flung wide, taking deep breaths of the early morning air. “Nothing’s wrong.” Spinning in wild circles, she laughed. “It’s finally here!”

The grass was damp with dew as he walked toward her. “What’s here?”

When she spun into his arms, he held her tight, smiling into her exuberant face.

“Fall,” she grinned. “Fall is here.”

He could almost taste the changing season on her lips when he kissed her, smell the hint of wood smoke that would soon tangle in her hair, feel the crisp, cool air on her soft skin.

Though he knew, as he carried her inside, he would always burn for her with the heat of Summer…


Heart of a Poet
March 28, 2013

“Here you are,” she said, walking into the study.

He looked up with a smile as she asked, “Is that one of the books you bought at the library sale?”  Bending to read the title, she grinned.  “Well, aren’t you the dark horse.”

“Still waters run deep.”  Pulling her down beside him on the couch, he whispered in her ear, “I was thinking of you when I bought it.”


“Yes.”  Voice soft, he began to read, loving her with words:

The face of all the world is changed, I think,

Since first I heard the footsteps of thy soul…


May 25, 2013

Jolting awake, heart pounding, she gasped for air, felt his arms slipping away from her body as the dream melted into shadow.  Pressing a fist to her stomach at the painful stab of loss, she sat up, swung her legs over the side of the bed, then bent over until her head rested on her knees.  She could still feel the contours of his chest on her cheek, hear the steady beat of his heart in her ear, the fresh, clean scent of him lingering in her nose. 

Leaving the empty bedroom, she turned on every light switch as she passed, knowing from bitter experience the middle of night held the true heart of darkness.

And that sometimes she was more capable of dealing with the specter of insomnia than the phantoms in her dreams.


Colors in a Kiss
October 5, 2012

They met in the middle of the large backyard.  She turned off the leaf blower as he leaned against the rake, running his forearm over a sweaty brow.

“We need to chop down all these trees," she groaned, dropping the blower wearily to the ground.

“You don't mean that.”

“Maybe not,” she sighed, “but I can definitely think of better ways to spend a beautiful weekend.”

“But now the real fun begins,” he smiled.

“What fun would that be?  The part where we spend hours stuffing all these leaves into garden bags?”

Tossing down his rake, he walked around the huge mound, took her hand and pulled her across the yard.

“What are you doing?” she asked.

He didn’t answer, just threw her over his shoulder and ran like a madman toward the pile of leaves as she squealed in protest.  At the last moment he tossed her, then dove in himself.  They bounced once into the soft cushion before the explosion of leaves settled, burying them in a kaleidoscope of colors.

Laughing, he pulled her against him, giving her a warm, lingering kiss, the smell of earth and autumn and sweat and sweetness wafting around them.

“We should plant more trees,” she murmured, drawing him closer.


August Moon
August 12, 2012

He kissed her awake. “Come outside with me,” he murmured.

“What?” A glance at the clock. “It’s the middle of the night.”

“Humor me,” he laughed, pulling her out of bed.

Confused, she took in the scene on the back deck: a large air mattress, covered with an unzipped sleeping bag, two pillows. “What’s going on?”

Smiling, he took her hand, drawing her down with him to the makeshift bed.

When they were settled, her head resting against his shoulder, he said quietly, “Look up.”

She gasped, dazzled by the sight of shooting stars streaking across the night sky.


The Wading Pool
July 17, 2012

“Could you bring the hose?” she asked, dragging the plastic wading pool onto the back patio.

“Sure,” he answered, “but what are we doing exactly?”

“I thought the dogs might like to cool off in this heat.”

When the pool was filled, she called to the dogs, napping under a tree across the yard. One briefly looked over, the other rolled to his back, legs in the air, tongue lolling.

She cajoled, begged, then stepped into the water and called them again.

“Not too interested,” he murmured.

“Come in here with me.” He stepped in, the water cold, wonderful, on his bare feet. “Now you call them,” she said.

After every attempt failed, she stomped her feet in frustration, water splashing up his shorts, streaking across his tee shirt. He looked down, then over at her. Grinning, he splashed her back. With a scowl, she bent down, cupped both hands and flung the water at him. He returned fire. Within moments, they were both soaking wet, their laughter sparkling as bright as the water dripping down their faces.

Across the yard, the dogs curiously watched the show, then went back to dozing in the lazy heat of a Summer’s day.


June 30, 2012

Standing at the threshold, he studied the intent look on her face as she worked. Quietly, he asked, “What are you doing?”

She spared him a quick glance, then bent again to her task. Surrounded by a plethora of womanly bottles and mysterious potions, he felt like he’d stumbled into an alchemist’s den.

“Serious research.” She straightened, finished with her project, critically assessing her handiwork.

Sitting beside her, he laughed, enchanted, when she raised her feet to the edge of the coffee table.

Each toenail was a different color, a kaleidoscope of gleaming beauty. She smiled, pleased at his appreciation.


 June 9, 2012

Muffled cursing drew him to the kitchen. Her head and shoulders were beneath the sink, his vision filled with a perfect view of her jeans-clad backside.

“What are you doing under there?”

“Trying to fix this dripping faucet.”

Crouching, he settled his hand on the warm curve of her exposed lower back. “Very nice view.”

Scowling over her shoulder. “Seriously?”

Grinning.“Oh yeah.”

“Could you make yourself useful and hand me that wrench?”

“Want some help?”

Silence. Then she stood, smiling, and gestured toward the sink.

Once underneath, he laughed when she murmured, “You’re right. It is a nice view.”


No Lost Moments
May 17, 2012

Camera steady, focused on the leaves overhead.

“What do you see?” The low, gravel-voiced question startled her just as she pressed the shutter, ruining the shot. Lowering the camera, she turned her head.

An old man leaned on a cane beside her, staring up into the trees before gazing at her, a curious look in his faded blue eyes.

“Light filtering through leaves,” she replied.

They both looked up.

“Huh,”he muttered, walking away.

Frustrated, the moment lost for her shot, she watched the old man shamble off. Then, smiling, she raised her camera. Not a moment lost after all.


April 16, 2012

“I call shotgun.”

“You can’t call shotgun two hours before we get in the car!”

“I just did.”

“Well, you can’t.  There are shotgun rules.”


“As the oldest, I get first dibs.”

“You so don’t!  I’m telling.”

“Snitch.”  Matching scowls.  “First rule:  you can’t call shotgun until we're just ready to leave.  Second rule:  whoever calls it first, gets it, no debate.”


Two hours later, racing toward the car, simultaneously shouting, “Shotgun!”

Husbands shake their heads.  One man got behind the wheel, the other held the door open to the back seat.  “Sorry ladies.  I called it first.”


Strange Bedfellows
March 24, 2012

"What are we going to do?"

They looked at the bed.

"We should never have let this happen," he said.

"He was a baby! I couldn't listen to him crying."

"I know," he frowned, "but we should have stopped when he got older."

"And he always wants the middle," she grumbled.

"He needs to go back to his own bed."

"Been there, tried that," she scoffed. "Seriously, what can we do?"

"Bunk beds?" he said, only half-joking.

"He couldn't climb to the top," she murmured, considering.

The large hound raised his head off the pillow, giving them an indulgent look.


Pity Party

Sent out the party invitations
No one showed but me
Called the caterers, cancelled everything
Blew my nose, wiped my tears
Need to move on

Crybabies are a dime a dozen
So what if things are hard
Like that’s news?
Washed my face, looked in the mirror
Can I move on?

Scarlett knew
Tomorrow is another day
Instead of woe, my next party will have cupcakes
Square my shoulders, stand tall
Time to move on

The sunshine reminds me
Life is beautiful, even when most difficult.
I‘m going to take a moment now
Appreciating that fact
As I move on


Being of Two Minds

“What are you doing?"


“Come on, what are you doing?”

“Go away.”

“You’re trying that meditation crap again, aren’t you?”

“Go. Away.”

“It won’t work. I won’t let it.”

“Stop chattering. It will work.”

“No. If you clear your thoughts, where does that leave me?”


“Helllooo, I know you’re there.” Laughter. “It’s not like you can hide.”

Om mani padme, hum.”

“Like that’s going to help.”


“No! A thousand times no.”

Unfolding from the Lotus, scowling. “Fine. You win. I give up.”

A sigh, like smoke, drifted through her mind. “So, what should we think about instead?”


Not Such a Risky Business

The sound hit him as he came into the house. Following the music to the living room, he took in the scene.

Her back to him, she was singing loudly into the duster as she did a long glide across the wood floor in her stocking feet.

He paused the CD player. She spun to face him in the abrupt silence.

“Channeling Tom Cruise?” he asked softly.

“Cleaning the house.” Grinning, breathless from exertion.

Her exuberance was compelling; unable to resist her, he kicked off his shoes.

“Got another…ah…microphone?” he asked.

“Here, take mine. My guitar solo is coming up.”


Valentine Memories

She held the 48 Valentines, saved from every year they’d been together.

Reading in order, she could follow their journey. The early years, cards filled with joy and love; the lean, dry years, a small x and his name as they struggled through bitter, heartbroken times; the reconciliation and forgiveness years, love creeping back tenuously, frightened of rejection.

Her finger traced his unsteady handwriting, words scrawled painstakingly on the last card, his love as bright and certain as the first one he’d written.

Clutching the bundle to her chest, her tears fell softly, catching in the corners of her smile.


Valentine Gifts

He drew her into his arms.

“You forgot, didn’t you?”

“No,” he murmured, “you get to choose.”

He lowered his head, the kiss deep and true.

“Would you rather have chocolate, or my kiss?” he whispered over her lips.

Breathless, she raised her mouth for more; a perfect answer.

“Would you prefer flowers, or my touch?”

Soft moans as knowing hands caressed her curves; satisfied, he smiled.

Pressing her head gently into his chest. “Hear me?” Strong, rhythmic beats.

“Instead of paper hearts, will you have mine?” his voice rumbled in her ear.

She chose her gifts; no more questions.


The Universe

“What does it all mean?”

“What do you mean?” he asked.

“This.” Waving her arms in big circles. “Life. The world. The universe.”

“Ah.” Philosophical quandary.

“We’re born, we live, we die,” she grumbled. “What’s the point?”

“The point is, I believe, that middle part.”

She scowled.

He looked at her, a long moment. “To live is to love, laugh, cry, feel. We don’t have to understand the universe, we just need to value our role within it.”

“How come you’re so smart?”

“I have to be, to keep up with you.”

His universe was in her beautiful smile.


There and Back

Rain under tires as the car eats the highway. Insulated in a warm cocoon, listening to vampires commit evil villainy on a CD while two wee dogs sleep in the backseat, oblivious.

Hours later, destination reached. Sister hugs; raucous, excited hysteria of dog brethren.

Long, wine-filled conversations over delicious food; appreciating the pleasure in talking with family while savoring a meal. Big city, favorite shops, a real bookstore. Nirvana.

Before we’re ready, back in the car; exhausted dogs, dreaming of their wild weekend. Lulled by the hum of the road, I cruise south, musing. Too fast the good times roll.


Stories on Skin

“That one?” Finger glide down the thin scar on her forearm.

“Sea urchin spine, off the coast of Kauai.”

“This?” She touched the scar above his temple.

“Underwater cave dive, Mexico.”

A gentle touch over the scar on her hip. “And this one?”

“Bad rappel at Yosemite.” He raised a brow. She shrugged. “60-mile wind gusts.”

They grinned at each other.

“What about this?” she asked, hand soft on the rough scar down his thigh.

“Racing. Going too fast, caught up in the speed.”

“Total the car?”

His eyes twinkled, smile flashed. “Nope. Just my bike. I was eight.”


Staying Home

“Want to do something tonight?”

“Like what?”

“I don’t know. A movie?”

“Captured audience, flu season, surrounded by coughing, hacking germ buckets who didn’t have the courtesy or sense to stay home? Don’t think so.”

“How about going out to dinner? There’s that new French bistro—”

“Just a different level of germ bucket.”

“Hmm.” Pause. “How long have we been together?”

“Since the dawn of time.”

Laughing, crawling into his lap, whispering in his ear, “Stands to reason that our germs must be sharing the same bucket by now, agreed?”

Juicy kisses.

"We'd better stay home where it's safe."


Love At First Sight

Walking into the building, she did a quick scan. Her gaze stopped abruptly when their eyes locked.

He froze, afraid to move, to break the spell. Please, be here for me.

Love at first sight. Compelled, winding her way between the other people in the room, so focused the voices and sounds around her nothing more than meaningless babble.

When she stood in front of him, they stared at each other for a heartbeat before she dropped to her knees and pulled him into her arms. “This one,” she said, smiling up at the woman from the dog adoption center.

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