Sunday afternoon, after we went bowling, I was in the driveway cleaning out the car. Violet was there sitting in her seat on the ground. The dogs were at the screen door staring at me as if my task could erupt into some sort of quality game involving them at any moment. Dumb and dumber. Then I heard Monica saying stuff.
"Hey, do you mind if I go tanning real quick?"
See, sentences like that just catch me all off guard. What the fuck? Tanning? Now? Real quick?
I didn't answer right away: A) because I am not so good at giving out permissions to tan ; B) because I was in the middle of a dashboard dust field, alone; and C) there was, in my wife's voice, a most discombobulating tone...an almost sing-songy jovial thing that I had not heard in, well, many moons.
She came again.
"Hey do you mind if I go tanning, it's just up the street? Takes like ten minutes."
Oh my. It was that sexy bouncy quality in her words that I used to hear so much when I first knew her. A young woman unleashed to the wild realities of a limitless life. She used to call me on my cellphone and that excited voice from many states, or even oceans away, would quite simply... dip me in fresh new lust and exploding love every time. She would call me in that voice while I sat at a bar far away. She'd talk dirty to me sometimes. She'd tell me she missed me. She made me more alive than I had ever felt before in this life just by talking to me in a voice that came naturally to her then.
But now. I hadn't heard that particular timbre in awhile and I had fallen out of practice with how it makes me feel. So, sitting there in the driver's seat with a fistful of soppy paper towels I wasn't expecting the old feelings.
My heart awoke from the long coma.
Only the coquettish patterns of what she'd said actually registered with me. I smelled the flirt, could taste the sensational promise of something wickedly sinful inside my upper lip; I swirled it around hard against my tongue and pinched it a tiny bit with my teeth. This was gonna happen....here in the driveway...but why?...what had I done so right?....oh, who cares/JUST RUN WITH IT.
WHA-WHA-WHHHHA-WHA-WHHHHHA-WHA-WHAHH. She was that teacher's voice in Charlie Brown. But hotter.
I rose from the car. A man. I turned to my woman.
"Hey, are you hearing me? Can I go tanning up the street? Violet is cool with you here for a few minutes."
I peered into her eyes desperately looking for the mischief, for the filthy coded Rated XXX talk that was oozing back into my life at long last.
"Tanning...now?" was all I could eek out. "Sure."
Off she went then. To tan.
The worst part is that when she got back about twenty minutes later she was radiant. Glowing. And visibly more upbeat than I'd seen her in awhile. She appeared healthy with a side of happy. From tanning. Under a very fake sun. I get it now , I get it.
I don't need your advice on this one.
Why didn't I see this all before.
She wants me tan.