To Start Off A Day
I take Holly to a colleague’s house for dinner. Rachel, the Registrar at the community college where I teach, and her husband Jack live in a cabin up on Senator Highway, just before the Y camp. Jack used to be a chef at a swanky place back east. He fired up the bar-be-cue for T-bones with this dry rub like I’ve never tasted before. And grilled squash, and these homemade baked beans that taste like dessert. Now we’re getting ready to gulp down homemade ice cream from one of those old-fashioned hand crank machines that we all take turns cranking.
When it’s my turn again, Rachel tells us what Jack and her do every morning, which started from that first morning they woke up together five years ago. “We get up on our knees, in the middle of the bed, and hug each other tightly for several minutes.”
“Our record is four minutes,” Jack says.
“Do you kiss?” I want to know. “Or any thing else?”
“Nope. Just hug, his chin on my shoulder and my chin on his shoulder, our bodies pressed tight against each other.” Rachel touches Jack’s chest. “We infuse each other before starting our day."
“Best way to start off a day,” Jack says.
“Once, a boyfriend and I did a similar thing as Rachel and Jack’s hug,” Holly says, pouring more rock salt. “We were on the front room couch at my parents’ house and the lights were off, except for a light coming down the hallway. Everyone was in bed, I guess, and we were spread out, our legs all tangled up, staring at each other. We started kissing, real lightly. And he didn’t move his hands up under my shirt like he always did, instead we continued this barely touching kissing for what seemed like hours. Usually we tore off each other’s clothes, mauling each other, but not that night for some reason.” Holly stares at me, mostly because of the way I’m cranking, making the small wooden bucket that looks like it came out of a deep well shudder and jump.
“No, that was me,” I say. My arm is a mighty, steam-driven coupling rod on this crazy runaway train. “You’re talking about me.”
I know that Holly knows it wasn’t me all those years ago, but her ex-husband, who she cheated on with me. This is the same guy who shrieked at my apartment window at 2 a.m. when Holly was there and slashed all four of my truck tires at my workplace and accused Holly of being diseased in court.
“And, if I remember right, your parents weren’t home.” My voice hurtles along, too. “When the light kissing eventually intensified, we ended up starting off the day in your parents’ marriage bed, mauling each other like ravenous animals.”
No one says the ice cream is done, even though it has been since way back.
About the author:
Dan Crawley's stories have appeared or are forthcoming in many journals and anthologies, including Camroc Press Review, Wigleaf, The Milo Review, North American Review, SmokeLong Quarterly: The Best of the First Ten Years, and Crack the Spine. He is the recipient of an Arizona Commission on the Arts fellowship in fiction and teaches writing at Ottawa University.
photo credit:Personal Creations