I watch a ladybug as it climbs up the far wall.
“You just can’t get rid of them,” my mother says. “It’s like a little bug retreat in here.”
I look around. I don’t see any others.
She notices this. “Trust me,” she says. “There’s another one here somewhere.”
The house is, of course, spotless.
We are sitting at the kitchen table. Just a few feet over, arranged on the island between the stove and the sink, are the plates containing the remnants of the meal: platters of fried chicken, abandoned mashed potatoes, lonely asparagus spears, salads and pickles and olives and rolls.
And a slowly warming cheesecake.
The first slice was delicious, as was the second piece that my mother and I picked at.
My mother rises, pushes away from the table, wanders toward the dishes. “Well,” she says. “I might as well.”
I look over at my father, who is watching her, as he has for over 50 years. He looks over at me, gives me a wink.
He’s in love with her.
Part way through wrapping up the last of the chicken, my mother looks up, sees him smiling. She waves an impatient hand at him. “Oh, you,” she says.
“Well,” she says. Standing over the cheesecake, she taps a thoughtful forefinger against her upper lip. “I suppose I might as well put it away then, Paul.” She shakes her head, the wonder of the seasons upon her. “It just warms up so fast now that summer’s here, don’t it?
My father grins. “Donut?” he says. “Oh, no, thanks, Midge. “ He glances over at me quickly, hazel eyes twinkling. “I’m too full of cheesecake.”
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what you get after 50 years of marriage.