Green-town Park was rather fuller than usual. She loathed it, large crowds and happy couples flaunting their matching clothes and brandishing their poster smiles and perfect relationships. Not that she had anything against being in a relationship, having herself been married for ten years now. It was just too uncomfortable to seat through. It was however Mark’s only day off in the last three months from the volunteer center and she had missed him. He also loved the outdoors and being around people. If it therefore meant her pretending to love the scorching sun and bugs crawling all over her, then she would bear it all for love. That was of course short lived for as soon as her eyes landed on a couple making out a few feet from their picnic area that all too familiar scowl formed between her cheeks as her frown lines folded over almost instinctively.
“You hate it don’t you?”
Her frown disappeared almost instantly and was replaced with a plastic smile, trying her very best to hide the torture she was enduring at the moment.
“No…of course not, it’s…nice.”
“Really…So explain to me why you’re digging your nails into the table cloth like you’re holding on to dear life.”
She lost it. It was too hard for her to hold it in any longer.
“Okay, you’re right, I do. I just…we could have done anything else today; indoors; away from bugs and annoying couples making out in front of us.”
“If that’s your subtle way of saying that you want me to kiss you then all you had to do was ask.”
He chuckled as she spanked his arm playfully, hitting him a bit too hard in the process.
“I’m serious Mark, do we have to spend the rest of the day here? I didn’t even bring my sunscreen and the sun is killing me. And…oh my God is that a bee!”
She said as she flailed her arms frantically trying to wade off a bumblebee that buzzed irritated over her head then flew off in the opposite direction. He knew how much she hated the outdoors, but she had at least tried her best to meet him halfway, even though it had taken her no longer than five minutes since she got here to start complaining as she always does.
“Jaye…relax. It’s a sunny clear day and you can survive an afternoon without sunscreen, even though we both know you don’t believe in that SPF stuff.”
She blushed as she stared back at him but recollected quickly. He knew her better than anyone else in her life and always managed to put her in her place whenever she got out of line. The bee was back however and the couple was now getting frisky. She was sure that a nut was about to go loose in her head from all the happiness and nature happening around her. Then she turned back and found his eyes. Small, focused and attentive, like he was taking note of every detail on her face.
“It’s just…what? Do I have something on my face?”
He chuckled. She was so adorable when she was frantic like this.
“Nothing at all…”
“Then why are you looking at me like that?”
“Just taking time to study your face and memorize it all. Make sure that I don’t forget any detail on it.”
He said as he gently took her hand in his and softly kissed her fingers, looking up to catch her widening smile. It was always surprising to her how he managed to make her feel like a regular old school girl crushing on the most popular boy in school. He always made her feel like she was his world, and no one else mattered at that very moment apart from her.
“Come on, don’t get all sappy on me. I have enough happy couples around to make me hurl already.”
She said as she tried to take her hand back but he held it, firmly but gently.
“I haven’t seen my gorgeous wife in three months. I’m allowed to get as sappy as I want, no questions asked. So hurl all you want love, I’m not letting up.”
He kissed her wrist now as she shivered and giggled, shooting her view towards the basket where a small brown package rested right next to it, tied up in a cute red bow. He noticed her distracted and followed her gaze to the package.
“Oh, you must be wondering what this is.”
“It better not be some expensive jewelry Mark, you know how many bills we need to pay this month and not having you around has really done a number on my accounts, plus…”
He silenced her, his large finger and huge hand resting over her mouth as he drew the package close and into her hand. He withdrew it when she went quiet.
“Do you have the receipt?”
“Dammit woman, can you for once in your life stop being so stubborn and let me tell you what to do for a change?”
She smiled. She always loved it when he went all Alpha male on her. It made her feel safe and secure that he was the man who would rise up to defend her and protect her when she needed it. She gently unwrapped the bow and opened the box. It was beautiful; crushed velvet with the encrusted words spelling out “It’s a Boy”. Her smile dropped.
“What? Don’t you like it?”
“A baby blanket…really…Is this some kind of joke?”
“I saw you looking at it the other day when we were shopping for your sister’s gift and I left a deposit for it. Should I not have?”
“We talked about this. I can’t have a child when you’re all the way on the other side of the world. God Mark, why did you have to go and ruin such a wonderful day. You’re so…ugh…”
She closed the lid and put the package aside, turning away from his piercing gaze to hide her trickling tear.”
He said as he pulled her in and held her close, her body shaking and resisting amid sobs.
“You picked the worst day to be funny. You’ve been gone for months and the first thing you want to give me when you get back is a constant reminder of the child we want but can’t get because I’m here alone and you’re out there taking care of other peoples’ kids.”
“I got posted in Greentown.”
He interrupted as she withdrew from his hug and sat up straight, staring into his eyes to search for that light in his eyes whenever he was trying to pull a fast one on her. It wasn’t there.
“You’re coming back?”
“I’m coming back baby!”
She hit him hard on his shoulder, now intentionally.
“Ouch! What was that for?”
Then she drew in for a hug and held him so tightly that he was sure she would cut off the circulation from his neck.
“Babe…babe, uh…I’m kind of having trouble breathing up here, if you could just…”
She withdrew and looked up at him, her eyes watery and tears dropping effortlessly. There was no one else he knew who found it as hard as Jaye did to show her emotions, so seeing her like this was like a breath of fresh air. She was happy.
“Those are tears of joy I hope?”
“Of course you dummy. Do you know how long I’ve waited to have you back home?”
“I’m just happy I won’t have to keep doing my own laundry anymore.”
He chuckled as she pushed him playfully, Mark grabbing her hand in the process, sending both of them to the ground. His eyes were on hers and her weight on his. Her eyes moved away from him for a bit then back again. She hated to be vulnerable like this, but he wanted her to know that she had nothing to worry about now that he was back again. He would take over from her controlling everything and handle all that was eating her up.
He said as she looked up at him, his voice deep but soothing. Her eyes were now soft and submissive opening and closing as his fingers trailed her face and parted her stray hairs from her eyes.
She replied softly and calmly.
“I’m here now. You don’t have to worry about me going away ever again, do you hear me?”
She hesitated for a moment them smiled back at him.
“I hear you, and I love the blanket. Thank you.”
There was the soothing sound of birds chirping, fading laughter of children playing in the distance as the two lovers shared a kiss, held in each other’s embrace and comforted by the idea of forever that had now become possible not just in theory, but in the warmth of the love they shared. There in each other’s’ arms, they were home, different, but as one together again.