Okay...for some reason this came to mind...
Nancy stared at the coffee cup as it lay on the floor, the handle broken into a couple of large pieces which were scattered around the floor.
It had been so innocent -- her comment to him as he was leaving for work that morning. She had never dreamed that he would have a reason to be angry or to lash out.
Now she sank shakily into a chair, wondering how to deal with it. Jared had never exhibited a temper, in all the time she'd known him. In their past two years of marriage, he had become a little sharper at times, but still had never displayed anger of the type she'd just seen -- an explosive bark of anger with a face so red she thought he would have a stroke.
Why? Why had her question set him off?
When she finally felt steady, she got up and left the cup and handle lying there in the middle of the kitchen, a reminder so she wouldn't rationalize it away. There was no sweeping this under the rug and pretending it didn't happen. A part of her innocence was gone, and she needed to understand the necessity.
She showered, dressed and left for work as if nothing had happened, but her mind was churning. By lunch she realized that she hadn't been giving her husband enough credit for emotions. She had begun to feel lately that he didn't seem as happy as she was, that he was dissatisfied with their marriage.
Perhaps it was time for a serious talk -- one that covered their feelings and where they stood, rather than what to have for dinner and what happened at the office.
Nancy left work early that afternoon, pleading a family situation that had come up. She stopped by the craft store and found some special glue that would dry clear. But she was surprised to find Jared's car in the driveway.
That's odd, she thought, turning off her engine. He's never home before 5. She slowly got out, wondering what this meant. Was he still angry? Had he come home early to pack and be gone before she got home? Was this the beginning of the end?
She didn't know what to think, and hoped their love was stronger than the instant negative thoughts that kept popping into her mind. She still loved him -- there was no doubt of that. From the moment he had stepped into her life, the joy and warmth that he had brought with him never went away.
She went to the door to find it covered with a big pink heart.
"Welcome home, my love," was written in large black letters. "Please ring the bell for service."
She gulped and then giggled, loving the familiar block lettering of her husband. She reached out and traced the shape of the heart, and then her hand went to the doorbell.
As the sound reverberated through the house, she heard a muffled sound, and then footsteps as if he were running from another part of the house. She saw a brief glimpse of his face through the glass as he checked who it was, and the dismay was easy to see.
Dismay? Hadn't he been expecting her?
"Nancy!" he pulled the door open wide, looking handsome as ever, still in his white shirt, but unbuttoned at the top, and his hair was mussed as if he'd been running his hands through it like he did when he was nervous. "You're early!"
Her heart stopped, and then started painfully slow. He hadn't been expecting her, he'd been waiting for someone else?
He saw the pain on her face and was suddenly holding her tightly in his arms. "No, don't look like that, my love! I didn't mean to sound like that, I just meant that I'm not finished with my surprise yet, but if you'll sit in the kitchen for just a minute, I will be. Oh please don't look at me like that!"
She closed her eyes and breathed in the earthy scent of him, held close against his solid chest, his strong arms tight around her, chasing away all her worries and fears of the day.
"I - I can wait in the kitchen," she murmured, slipping her own arms around him to hold tight. "You just scared me, like you'd been expecting someone else."
He gave her a weak grin and shook his head. "No one but you, my love. Only you."
The tremulous words eased the pain in her heart, and she let him lead her into their small kitchen and set her on a stool. He kissed her softly on the cheek, and then left, leaving her to gaze at the coffee mug on the counter.
It was the one that had been left on the floor that morning. She stared at it in fascination, seeing how the handle had been carefully glued so that it was almost impossible to tell it had been broken. The only giveaway was one small piece that was missing -- he'd probably been unable to find it.
She reached out and ran a finger over the smooth handle, amazed at the effort that had gone into it, and the concern. He'd felt badly about this morning, that much was obvious. He'd thought about repairing the mug as well, instead of just sweeping it up and throwing it away.
What was his plan?
After sitting there for several minutes, she was beginning to feel antsy. She shed her jacket, and wondered if she could move from her stool without causing another issue, just as she heard footsteps on the stairs.
"Nancy?" She looked up and he stood in a butler type uniform, hair gleaming and face serious. "Would you like a bath?"
A bath? He knew she loved bubble baths, and she nodded, unable to get her voice to work.
Thus began an evening that put all other of their romantic points of marriage to this date out of her mind. After a heavenly bath, he fed her, and as they ate, they talked. For the first time in several months, they really talked. And she understood.
15 years later that mug sits upon the shelf. No one but she or Jared used it, but the children all know the story.
As soon as they were old enough to notice the mug, they would ask "What happened to that coffee cup, mama?" and she'd tell the story of their day of healing. She'd share with them the treasured symbol of a glued handle and how they were fortunate to have a mother and father who loved each other as much as they were loved as children.
Oh well...ran out of time to really do what I wanted...maybe I can change it later. Have a good one...