A Kiss for Good Luck

He was always the first thing I saw when I went to bed, and the first thing I saw when I woke up in the morning. I would rub my coral green eyes, brush the frizzy black hair out of my face and there he'd be, staring back at me with his eyes the color of a thunderstorm in solid form. He'd smile, and I would hide my own with the covers and turn away from him so that I wouldn't contaminate him with my toxic morning breath.

"Hello dear." He'd say in a half joking, half serious voice. And I'd reply,

"Hello, darling." Just like the lady on the tv show would do. I'd could mimic her perfectly and that would send the two of us into a fit of giggles. Then he'd get up and make coffee, and I'd take a shower, and when we were done we'd switch. He'd go and take a shower, and I'd drink the coffee he made me. It was always too sweet. Always.

He'd leave for work a little after that, with his briefcase and his tie. I'd see him off at the door, like a good little housewife, in my slippers and my apron.

"A kiss for good luck, dear." He'd say with a smile.

"Of course, darling, of course." I'd reply. And I'd oblige him with a soft kiss on his soft cheek. Then he'd be off, and I'd be left all alone.

In the time he would be gone, I'd busy myself with housework. Cleaning, ironing, I wanted everything to be perfect for when he came back. So perfect he wouldn't have to do anything. I wanted to make sure that he was happy. Always.

At exactly five o'clock, he'd pull into the driveway. He'd walk up the driveway slowly, like he was tired. Sometimes I'd watch him from the window, sometimes I wouldn't. But I always met him at the door.

"Welcome back." I'd say.

"It's good to be back." He'd reply, and give me a soft kiss on my soft cheek.

Then we would eat dinner, and he'd tell me about his day. How hard he was working. How he was skipped over for another promotion, and sometimes he would stop talking, and just stare at his plate. When that happened, I would hold his hand, sometimes for hours, and the two of us wouldn't say anything.

He would take a bath, and I would make some coffee, so that when he finished we could relax and watch tv. He almost never joined me. He would go straight to bed without saying a word.

I sat alone and watched the housewife kiss her husband on his soft cheek, and watched her straighten up the house for him, and once I started crying while I watched, but I never figured out why.

Then at about eight or so, I'd go to bed, but he would still be up. Staring at the wall or the ceiling, and he wouldn't say a word as I slipped under the covers, but he would hold me, sometimes, and sometimes he'd hold me for hours, even after he or I had gone to sleep.

The next morning, I didn't get up and tell him good morning. I wasn't up to take a shower, or drink his too sweet coffee, and I wasn't up to give him a kiss for luck.

When I woke up, it was past noon, and I hadn't yet recovered from my cold, but I was overcome with worry and nervousness.

The phone rang.

I answered it.

He was always the first thing I saw when I went to bed, and the first thing I saw when I woke up in the morning.

But not anymore. Now I wake up cold, and alone. I take a shower, and I make my own coffee, that is never sweet enough. I leave the house with my clipboard and my nurse scrubs and when I get back I walk up the driveway, like I'm tired, but there is no one to sometimes watch me from the window, and there is no one to meet me at the door, or welcome me home, or hold my hand, sometimes for hours when I've had a bad day, or been passed over for a promotion.

There's no one at all. To give me a kiss for good luck.

Written: 1/30/08