Those of you who read my blog know that it has been a tough winter.  My wife Jan has gone through a rough patch with cancer, as well as a pulmonary embolus.  Well, we’re on the sunny side of things and she’s doing wonderfully.  So, last night we went on our first, official evening date in several months.  In honor of that, I’ve pulled an old column/post out of the archives.  I hope you enjoy!

The point is this:  we all have to learn to take our romance and intimacy where and when we can;  and always with a bit of levity.

shopping cart

Edwin’s hand brushed against Jan’s as he reached for the shopping cart. She smiled, and tossed her purse inside. As they walked into the store, her mind raced with a million thoughts. ‘Does he feel the same desire as I do? Does he find me attractive? Does he want…a huge bag of M and M’s?’ With a coy turn of her head, she looked at him. ‘We need cereal’.

Edwin felt his heart race. Cereal. The words he had longed for her to say. There’s only so much Special K a man can endure, week after week. He wondered what sort of cereal this fiery woman would pick. Would she be practical? Would it be Cheerios? Would it be, heaven forbid, some kind of granola freshly scraped from a grain silo? NO! She traced her slender finger along the boxes as his breath quickened. Her red nail polish was bright against the assorted colors of cartoon characters. She lingered over Rice Krispies, she paused at Muselix. Then she grasped the box of Lucky Charms with passionate intensity and tossed it into the buggy. Edwin felt himself sweat. Lucky Charms! Joy of joys. This was a real woman.

He reached for her, needing to pull her close, when he heard the scraping sound of a large cart. ‘Excuse me please’, said the young man stocking the shelves. Jan slipped from his reach and disappeared around the corner.

‘I love the way you pick breakfast food’, he whispered when he caught up to her. ‘I know’, she replied, and she leaned forward, breathing in his ear. ‘We need milk; can you get some?’ Edwin kissed her hand and left for the dairy aisle, trying to locate the 1% milk while Jan made her way toward boxed pizza. He returned to her with three gallons of milk, which made the relatively small muscles of his forearms bulge under their combined weight. ‘Nice forearms’, Jan said.

‘Thanks. I work out at least once a month.’

She flirted back. ‘You can tell. You can definitely tell’.

They walked further and loaded the cart with the various items they needed, and also the things they desired. Thinking about the rest of the evening, Edwin suddenly remembered the powerful effect that Diet Coke had on Jan. The way it kept her from dozing off in the mid-afternoon from sheer exhaustion. He loaded a 12 pack onto their cart. ‘How much?’ She asked him, looking over her sunburned shoulder. Edwin could see that this woman was both beautiful and practical. ‘$3.88’. ‘Just get one’. He obeyed, and slipped next to her, putting his arm around her waist.

‘I love this. I love our time together. This place, your dress, the smell of freshly opened boxes of produce, it’s intoxicating!’ He wondered if she felt the same, or if she was simply humoring him as she flipped through the coupons in her hand, her silver bracelet glinting in the soft glow of fluorescent lighting, its hum like background music for their interlude.

Looking up at him, her eyes became deep with emotion, and she casually pushed the buggy away, nearly wiping out an elderly shopper with a walker. ‘Sorry!’ she cried as she retrieved the nearly 150 pounds of groceries.

‘Where were we?’

‘Right here,’ he said as he kissed her, fiercely and briefly, before tripping into a display of canned vegetables.

She helped him up, barely able to control her laughter. ‘I can’t take this anymore! Edwin, you have to take me…you have to take me right now…to the stationary. The kids are starting school, and we need, well, school stuff.’

She was beautiful when she said ‘school stuff’, and when she mentioned the children. She was elegant when she called the babysitter to make sure that she wasn’t tied in a corner.

Jan was everything Edwin could want. And as she swayed off to the other side of the store, Edwin realized that he was the luckiest man alive. Because there was the woman he loved, there was the cereal he wanted, and dead ahead was the magazine rack, where she had been temporarily distracted. There was food in the cart, a beautiful woman by his side, children sleeping at home and now, chick magazines with relationship quizzes to take.

What a night it had been. What a night it would be.

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