Dave dashed in the front door dripping, starving and aching after helping his team lose their football match. He ran through the house to the shower, leaving Angie standing with lips puckered, not sure if he had actually kissed her hello or not. She blinked, shrugged off her disappointment, then returned to the warm company of her book. She didn’t feel up to pursuing him around the house or trying to have a yelled conversation through the shower curtain.
Sunk in her book, she jumped as he reappeared in a surprisingly short time. He smelled warm and crisp. She smiled, inviting him to join her. Instead, he dropped a quick kiss. This missed its intended target as she had involuntarily turned up her face. The kiss landed messily on the side of her nose. Without trying again or sensing her disappointment, he absently laughed and ruffled her hair.
She gave a slight twitch of annoyance. This didn’t achieve its purpose as the intended target had already turned his back and was scuttling towards the kitchen. She returned to her book. She read the same paragraph repeatedly, uncomprehendingly.
She gave up and raised her head as she heard indefinable sounds coming from the kitchen. She slid off the lounge and walked softly to the connecting door. What unfolded in front of her brought up a confused mixture of frustration and amusement.
Dave was wrestling with the plastic wrapping encasing the cold meat. This meat was obviously intended for his naked sandwich, which at this point was lying on her freshly cleaned bench, without a plate to protect it.
Once again she felt as though she had been brushed aside. There he was, ruining her morning’s work and absorbed in his little battle with food wrapping. Oblivious to her.
He rushed at the package with his fingernails. Unsuccessful, he sent his teeth in to the fray. Yelping at a cut lip, stirred by a sense of outrage, he engaged all weapons – hands, teeth and fingernails.
The result of this impulsive attack was varied. For Angie, it was a sense of hilarity that pressed painfully at her ribcage and reddened her cheeks. Dave was suffering similar symptoms, but without the hilarity.
Seemingly in slow motion, he was losing his battle. The package, resenting his rough treatment, made a well-timed leap for freedom. Dave lunged forward - first knocking one slice of bread to the floor, then bruising his hip on the bench, then crashing into the cupboard door he had left open. The meat, still safely encased in the recalcitrant packaging, neatly executed a triple-twist, double-summersault routine, and ended with a flat-dive dismount. While this was perfectly and safely executed, Dave was not so lucky. His journey was less graceful, and considerably more uncomfortable. It left him lying on the tile floor in a mixture of broken hinges, splinters and flattened bread. He lay rubbing various sore spots and hoping he had not broken a rib, or more importantly, that he had not been seen by anyone who might retail the humiliating event to interested humorists.
It is not known what he might have said to relieve his feelings (which is perhaps best) as the sight of Angie bending over in silent, excruciating hysteria stopped him.
“What…?!” For a moment it seemed as though he would direct his anger at her, then his expression changed slowly to sheepishness. “Well, you can stop laughing now.” But this was said without conviction.
“I … would if … I could.” She gasped.
“Very funny.” But he got up and hugged her. Soon they were both shaking with laughter. After the paroxysm came the moment of clarity.
“I’m sorry, babe. I just got caught up. We lost the game. I’m starving. And music practice starts in 10 minutes. I just wanted a sandwich!” His boyish, sheepish disappointment made her giggle, but with a slight note of melancholy.
“We’ve been rushing so much these days, Dave. We’ve hardly seen each other. I was so looking forward to a quiet afternoon at home with you. You didn’t tell me about music practice.”
His kiss found its target this time. Then he went wordlessly to the phone, stepping gingerly over the spoils of his lunch. Ten minutes later, the kitchen returned to its former cleanliness (though missing a cupboard door), they sat down together for a leisurely lunch. With plates.
Angie slowly, meticulously, yet easily peeled back the plastic wrapping. Dave sighed.
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