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Small things (3)

Daph came home to an empty house, the light streaming in from bare windows hurting her eyes; she squinted, scrunching up her face till her nose wrinkled.
Still lugging her carrier bags, she dashed to the offending windows and with a swift motion; the blinds came crashing down.
"Ahhhhh," a sigh escaped her pursed lips as she closed off the outside world and cast the load off her arms onto the gleaming counter tops.
Mary was such a gem!
Baby cabbages and green peppers rolled out onto the counter top.
There was a  whiff of grilled cheese lingering in the kitchen and Daph sniffed in deeply allowing the scent to conjure up ghosts.
"Ben," his name escape her lips like a sigh.

She shook her head furiously trying to loosen memories clinging to her like cobwebs.
"Settle down woman!" she scolded.
Rushing out of the kitchen with it's offending knack for reminding her of pleasures past, she kicked off her strappy sandals in haste: one landed with a plonk in the shoe basket in the entrance hall, the other with a kadoef as it missed the basket and hit the wooden floor. She kicked it in the pile along with all the other misses and made her way barefoot to the bedroom stripping off black till she stood naked in front of the bedroom mirror examining her body with critical eyes, She had her head cocked quizzically to one side when the front door bell rang.
Daph grabbed her kimono from the couch and fluffing her dark curls, went to the door. Checking the peephole she stood for a minute as his face came into view. She tied the red satin tighter around her middle, sucking in her tummy, squaring off her shoulders. She felt fear sweeping over her like a hot flash, intense, sudden and overwhelming.
"I know you're there," he said, I can hear you breathing, "open the door, Daphne, we need to talk."
His voice was calm, even, and he had her at a disadvantage.
"Go away, Ben!" she said, her voice quivering, betraying her.
"You have to talk to me sometime," Ben insisted.
Her hands was sweating as she held onto the door to steady herself. He looked good, his black hair was long and the wind was playing with it making her heart pounce. She remember what it felt like weaving through her fingers, what it felt like yanking it in  pleasure, what it felt like brushing against her thighs as his head moved down the length of her plastering butterfly kisses onto her naked flesh.
She closed her eyes to shut him out and leaning with her back against the door as cold as his heart: "Call me in the morning and we'll arrange a time, and please don't just show up here again!"

Daphne was close to crying as she heard him walk away; rushed to the bedroom window to catch a last glance of him: "Turn around!" she willed.
But he kept on walking his stride firm and long, the South-Easter whipping his shirt tails revealing the small of his back.
A light rain started falling, it was strange for the time of year and it had Ben hurrying to his car away from her.

It had been a good couple of years since the last good spell of summer rain.
"Haha, at least the farmers will be happy,"
 Ben had teased her on their 20th anniversary when the rain came splattering down, threatening to ruin their big celebration with the in laws. Daphne had wanted them to lunch in the garden but the rain had put a stop to her plans for alfresco dining.
The cold had come suddenly and unexpectedly in the heart of November, leaving Daphne shivering in her kimono, the wide and billowing satin garment offering little comfort against the sudden chill. Her nipples stood erect against the black, tiny bumps that distracted Ben considerably from where he sat at eye level to her glorious mounds. The wind picked up leaves and branches creating tiny whirlwinds in the garden.
Steam rose steadily from the hot stove and bubbling pots; failing to take the edge off the cold in the kitchen.
She grabbed a dozen potatoes out of a bag and deftly peeled and cut them into perfect quarters. She turned on the tap juggling potatoes, too lazy to take out another bowl. Damn she hated doing the dishes! Him she liked doing, the dishes not so much.
This thought had Daphne bemused and a cheeky smile played on her face.
Holding the quarters firmly in two hands,she held them under running water watching the water turn starchy. She gave them a slight shake and placed them into the simmering pot, lastly adding chopped coriander to finish off the curry.
She breathed deeply, loving the aroma; it reminded her of coming home on school days, of her mom stirring the pot while her dad looked on.
Two peas in a pod.

"Sly like a fox," Ben teased.
"Huh?" she asked glancing over at Ben where he was reading the Cape Times; enjoying a cup of black coffee and a grilled cheese sandwich.
Peering at her over the newspaper. he said:
"You wearing something under that?"
"Don't you dare!" she said emphatically, flicking him with starchy droplets, "your family will be here in less than an hour."
"You didn't have to cook today, you know, I'd gladly have bought something from the Deli."
Ben was easy.
Their marriage was easy.
And smooth.
Right then Daphne was easy.
And happy for the smooth.
Her early anniversary grooming session might pay off early.
"I love cooking for us," Daph said, turning around to face him. She smelled of onions and spices, but he didn't seem to mind, pulling her closer, drawing her in, leaning  his chin on top of her head. She was going grey, it spouted at the top of her head like weeds.
"Now make yourself handy, old man, and set the table!"
"Who cooks in a satin kimono?" he asked pulling on the red satin band around her waist.
He had that look in his eyes and she felt herself come undone, "Uh oh,"
He opened the top exposing her breast.
Bending his knees, he grabbed her by the bottom and lifted her onto the granite counter top. The stone felt cold against her bottom and she squirmed, giggling like a school girl.

Daphne's giggle was disturbed by the shrill ring of the telephone in the darkened bedroom where the rain was playing on the window pane criss crossing the glass like tears. Daphne struggled to hold onto the memories amidst the urgent sounds coming from her handbag.
"Hello," she said, joy gone.
"Ben says you're avoiding him," Janet accused, more friend than sister-in-law, "you guys need to talk, you know that! Right, Daphne? You know that?"
"I know, okay! Tomorrow, I promise!" Daphne knew Janet was right, but she dreaded seeing him.
Dreaded not seeing him.
"I'll pick you up at 8, I'll even take you to that new Banting restaurant in Beach Road," Janet suggested.
"Fine,but only if you promise to stay over afterwards." she insisted.

Daphne shivered and drew the kimono tighter around her. Her conversation with Janet raising fears she was not yet ready to face. She ran her hands over the silky fabric of her kimono, felt the tear where Ben had ripped it in his haste to uncover her bottom.
She missed having him.
She longed to run her hands over the small of his back.
She longed to rest her face there.
The small of his back was where she found her home, it had been hers... her territory to explore and knead and stroke.
From her happy place she'd run her hands up along the bumps of his spine till she found his dark strands nestling at the nape of his neck.
And in those quiet moments while he was sleeping, she offered his name to the universe in thanks before she drifted away.

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