Suzie perched on the sofaís edge, blonde curls shinning as they bounced, barely able to contain her excitement as her husband retrieved yet another wedding gift, freshly delivered by the postal service. She thought he might be intentionally trying to drive her mad as he chatted casually with the postman and then after bidding him good-day, took overlong to read the address on the package.
"Whoís it from? Oh lemme see!" She squealed as he looked up at her with a twinkle in his chocolate-brown eyes and a mischievous grin spread over his handsome features. He 'was' deliberately being slow!
Jacob laughed at his impatient lady and the warm sound rolled over her like a sparkling wave, bringing pleasure and joy. Folding her hands contritely, she showed she could be patient if she wanted to. He handed her the package. "Itís from my Great Aunt Marge, in Arizona."
Suzie took the parcel, smiling with anticipation. Perhaps her enthusiasm was a by-product of her youth, as Jacob claimed, but he didnít seem to mind. In fact, heíd told her it was one of the things about her he found most attractive. As she ripped back the packing tape and open the flaps of the small rectangular box she saw an envelope lying atop creamy white tissue paper. She handed that to Jacob, who still stood before her, and quickly divested the tissue.
Her delicate cherry lips puckered and her brows furrowed as she stared at the contents. Jacob, whoíd just unfolded the letter looked down to see the reason for his bubbly wifeís sudden silence.
"Whatís the matter?"
She looked up at him with a pout as she pulled the afghan from its wrapping, holding it up like he ought to know the answer.
Jacob glanced at the letter. "She made it. She says itís large enough to cover two."
Suzie sighed. "Itís orange."
"I donít like orange."
Jacob put the letter down and sat beside the captious girl. He freed the remainder of the afghan and covered both their laps with it. "Orange is the color of sunsets and crackling fires. Itís the color of a monarchís wings and the pretty flowers you like that bloom in the ditches every summer. What are those called?"
"Daylilies." He wiggled closer and slipped an arm around her. "Itís very soft, and warm. In fact, I canít think of anything Iíd like better than to snuggle next to my charming little wife underneath it."
Settling into Jacobís chest Suzie harumphed. "Oh Jacob!"
The years passed finding Jacob and Suzie more solidly in love at the end of each. God had conspired with their three children to teach Suzie compassion and forbearance though, Jacob once claiming it was his sunlight each day, her youthful exuberance never diminished. Suzieís heart swelled with love whenever she considered the exceptional kindness Jacob showed, which she not only appreciated, but had learned to emulate. Together they had raised a beautiful family, following adventures and dreams; experiencing trials and tribulations. Now in the autumn of their years, after the last of their children moved on to make his own way in the world, it was again just the two of them. Theyíd begun a tradition, Jacobís idea really, that Suzie looked forward to each and every day.
"Jacob itís almost time!" Suzie called from the back porch where she sat facing the western sky.
The patio door slid open and Jacob stepped through, his chestnut hair highlighted artistically with gray, carrying two steaming cups of cocoa. "Are you sure you donít want to come inside to watch? The days are growing colder."
"Donít be silly!" She said as she slid over on the swing to make room for him. After handing over her cup of chocolate he pulled up the corner of the tattered afghan, itís bright orange color having long since dimmed, and settled beside her. They snuggled together, silently watching the sunset erupt into a blaze of color.
As the warm sun slipped beneath the horizon and itís ember-like brilliance faded, leaving the sky covered with inky shadows, Jacob remarked, "That was one of the prettiest weíve seen in a while."
As Suzie handed him her empty mug and gathered up the old afghan she agreed, "You know, I think you might be right. Orange really is a lovely color after all."
---I would like to dedicate this piece to my husband, who likewise reminded me how beautiful orange can be.---
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