by Duane A. Gallop
The smell of the sea woke me up, but I didn't open my eyes for a while. Shut they were as I tried to suppress the memory. Something happened to me just 24 hours ago. It was something so wonderful that I didn't want to remember it right away. Instead, I pushed it away, pushed it away, savoring it as if slowly unwrapping a present I had desired forever.
A large tender hand touched me and stroked my hand. Ah, that was it. My husband! I was blessed to find the most wonderful man on Earth. In a whirlwind romance that took eight months, we were married. He's 6'2" dark skinned chocolate and muscular. The best thing about him is how much he loves the Lord, so much so that our pre-martial counseling was a breeze.
"Are you saved?" my pastor asked him.
"Yes," Arthur replied.
And that was that.
Artie kissed me on the neck and I cooed. I got out the bed and pulled the curtains open. The wonderful smell of the ocean cascaded in our room. We could have moved to Aruba and left Brooklyn behind us.
"How's your honeymoon?" Artie asked. "Everything okay Babe?"
I smiled at him. Of course it was, I replied. Artie then went to the bathroom and I was about to make the bed, when I realized that I didn't have to anymore. I wasn't living with my Mom, who made me make the bed as if Jesus Himself would prohibit me from Heaven if I didn't. I didn't need to please Mom. I was out of her house forever. God heard my cries and blessed me with the man of my dreams.
I flopped on the bed and rolled around, leaving it as messy as possible. Take that Mom! I knew the maid would fix it, but for the first time in my 23 years I was free!
Artie, my husband, emerged from the bathroom. He smiled at me. A few hours later we were downstairs. It was already 3PM. We ordered cheeseburgers and fries and Artie ordered our beverages, which came first. They looked like chocolate milk.
"What a nice hotel," Artie said.
My back was to the hotel, so I turned around.
"Yes it is," I replied, turning to the sea. "Beautiful."
Artie raised his glass. "To us," he said.
"To us," I replied. "And thank God."
"Yeah," said Artie.
I took a sip and my mouth felt like it was on fire! I cried, "Artie what is this?"
"It's Amaretto Cream!"
"It's just a drink!"
"You mean this isn't chocolate milk?"
Artie laughed. "Babe, you got to live a little."
"But Artie... I... you drink?"
He waved his hand. "Jesus drank."
"Wine back then was what we call grape juice." He smiled and drank again. "I'm not drinking Amaretto when I get pregnant!" I quipped.
"Well you'd have to be the Virgin Mary!"
"What does that mean?" I asked softly and slowly.
"I'm fixed," he said proudly. "I don't want kids."
He said "kids" with such disdain that I was shocked. "Ever?" I asked.
He shook his head. I was agape. How could this have never come up?
"You're really... fixed?"
"Yeah," he said.
"Artie... I want kids," I said softly.
"Why haven't we spoken about this?"
"You never asked Babe."
"I believe in being fruitful and multiplying."
He giggled. "You mean you take the Bible seriously?"
"Wait?" I cried. "You don't?"
Artie looked dumbfounded. I don't know what hurt me more - Artie being fixed and never telling me, or his disdain for the Word.
He said, "I thought you just brought me along to appease your Mom."
"What made you think that?"
The food came and we stared at each other. A myriad of thoughts raced through my mind. Did I marry this man to get out my mother's house? Should we have had real counseling? I knew the answers, but...
"I thought we would be a godly couple," I said, "raising our kids..."
Artie shook his head and touched my hand. "Babe..."
"My name's Veronica," I seethed, pulling my hand away.
Tears formed in my eyes, blurring my vision and staining the sights that were so beautiful to me just a few hours ago - the ocean, the hotel and my husband.
"Babe," Artie whispered. "It's going to be okay."
But all I could wonder was what kind of marriage this was going to be.
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