He looked up as she came downstairs, stubborn curls framing her face. The pillow had left imprints on her cheek. She smiled a greeting.
He wanted her. He always wanted her, but she was still tired, he could tell. She worked hard in the yard today, and ever since her back surgery, she felt pain after exertion. He was tired, too, he admitted to himself. Not tonight.
“Whatcha watching?” she asked.
“The Germans losing World War II again,” he said, repeating her oft-used phrase.
She walked in front of him, threw a leg over his, and lowered herself onto his lap, facing him. She leaned against his chest, and his hand curved into her sleep-tousled hair. Their spirits were willing, but their flesh was weak, he thought, holding her to himself and drinking in her scent.
“You wanna watch one of those funny videos?” she said.
“You don’t sound too excited.”
“Neither do you.”
She rose and pulled him by the hand. “Let’s go to the big screen.”
Comfortably settled on the sofa, they clicked the remote until the feature appeared.
He had his arm around her, but soon they were laughing hard, so they drew apart and just held hands.
After the episode was over, he rose to finish some chores. “You got a lot done outside today,” he said. “Looks good. You okay?”
“I’ll be fine. She stood up, and the skirt of her purple cotton gown fell gracefully to her ankles. The plunging neckline left much of her bosom uncovered, and he checked a sigh. He always wanted her. Marriage hadn’t changed that. No, it added to it. He knew what they had together, and she never refused him. Although sometimes, like now, he wouldn’t ask. Just lying next to her, spooned up against her, the warmth of their bodies encircling them, was enough. It was good.
She wore the soft gown to bed so he couldn’t enjoy watching her undress. He liked to watch her, especially when she slipped off those lacy red panties—but the black ones were nice,too. Even cotton briefs were good.
She didn’t turn her light on to read as she usually did. “I napped, but I’m tired. I was up early cooking for the children. I’m glad they came. They didn’t stay long.”
“They have their own lives. But it was a great meal. The turkey was perfect.”
“Thanks. I love you.”
“I love you, too.” He reached over to pat her. He could see her smile as he sat leaning against his pillow. “How long have I been loving you now?”
“This December we will have been married forty-nine years. Thank you for loving me.”
He reached up and turned off the light. In the dark he curved his arm around her, took her soft breast in his hand, and said, “My pleasure.” It was enough, lying beside the wife of his youth. Another night, when they weren’t so tired, but not tonight.