The beef sizzles in the frying pan, spitting angry spots onto the cook top as I boil the water and add the pasta. My hair is piled high and messy and I still feel the flush from the Sunday afternoon bath that was too hot but so good. I drain the meat and it's juices splash on my sweatshirt. I wipe cook-fingers on my jogging pants. I am the cliche of house-wife-slob. There is no glamour, surrounded in these kitchen walls. No make-up, hidden here from outside. My flip-flops are lime green and I can see dust bunnies under the refrigerator. If you knocked on the door, I would duck beneath the table and pretend no one is home.
He watches me from his perch in the living room, there on the sofa we loved so much that the children have destroyed beyond recognition of the hundreds of dollars spent. He watches me with a silly grin. I slip the garlic bread in the oven and stir the sauce. "What?" I demand of his staring.
His eyebrow rises, grin rises with it. "You look beautiful."
I blow out a puff of air and roll my eyes but I can't help the rise of my own grin, there surrounded in the mess that is me. Because while his grin says teasing his eyes deny any lying and I don't know how he does it. I don't know how he can look at me as if he's seeing me for the first time, seeing that fresh-faced sixteen-year-old struggling to strum a G chord and singing harmony to his "Pour Out My Heart".
Is that the nature of love? To hold forever captured that first moment that caught your breath and rushed your heart?
How extraordinary that a moment could stand the lasting of fifteen years. How extraordinary, the way he sees the messy me, here in this kitchen with it's dirty dishes and Cranberry Zing red walls. How extraordinary that it isn't extraordinary at all - the way he looks at me - it's actually quite ordinary, because that's the way he always looks at me. Every time. So maybe I have romance after all.