"Where have you been?” My husband had his hands on his hips and he was scowling at me as I walked through the door.
“I ran some errands and then had dinner with Gail. We went to the Vietnamese restaurant. Did I forget to tell you that I was going out tonight?”
“You told me, but I was worried about you.” He waited until I put my purse on the desk in the kitchen before he grabbed me and hugged me close.
“That’s sweet, but you really didn’t need to be,” I mumbled into his chest. “It’s not even 8 o’clock yet. It’s still light out.”
He stroked the back of my hair lovingly.
“Um…honey?” I said after a long moment. “I really have to go to the bathroom.”
He released me reluctantly and followed me, talking to me through the closed bathroom door. “There was a fatal accident on Highway 29.”
“That’s awful,” I answered loudly, flushing and turning on the water in the sink to wash my hands. “The boys are OK?” I was pretty sure they were not involved in an accident on Highway 29, since neither of them was going in that direction this evening. The restaurant in which I had eaten was in a strip mall right along that highway, though. The little cartoon light bulb lit up over my head.
I opened the door and stepped out, turning off the light. “Why didn’t you just call my cell phone if you were worried about me?”
He pulled my purple Lotus phone out of his back pocket. “You mean this phone?”
“Yeah,” I answered, taking it from him. “Didn’t I hear your call?” Sometimes the phone was so deep in my purse I didn’t hear it make those annoying bird chirps.
“No, you didn’t hear my call. It would have been im-poss-i-ble for you to hear it.”
“You left it at home!” My husband never yells, but his voice might have been raised just a wee little bit at the end there.
“I’m sorry. Really. But you know we lived without cell phones for most of our lives.”
“And I would have worried about you back then, too. The point is that now I Don’t Have To!”
I winced. “I’m sorry you were worried about me. I’ll try to remember to carry it with me from now on.”
“Good!” He walked over to the kitchen sink, poured himself a glass of water and took a big gulp.
I followed him. “I love you,” I offered in a little girl voice.
“Don’t try to make me laugh,” he warned, spluttering and coughing. “It won’t work.”
“Then why is there water coming out of your nose?” I asked.
He looked at me, trying to hide a smile. He curved his arm around me and pulled me close. “I love you, too.”
“I know,” I answered, kissing his chin. “But if you want to say it again, I won’t complain.”
“Fine.” He sighed heavily, playing along. “I love you.”
“I didn’t hear you,” I whispered in his ear. “What did you say?” I unwrapped myself from his arm and ran toward the stairs.
He chuckled. A moment later he followed me up the stairs so he could tell me just once more.