Slice of Life, Hold the Anchovies

Smoke billowed from the oven. The acrid odor and the nasal honking of the smoke alarm mixed together and caused tears to rush from Carla’s eyes.

Don sauntered into the kitchen and slapped her backside lightly. “Dinner must be ready.” He snorted and grinned at her.

“I’m done.” Carla yelled over the alarm. “I want a divorce.” Throwing the pig oven mitt into the trash, she turned and ran out of the room.

Don pursed his lips and blew out a deep sigh. He pulled the pig oven mitt from the trash. “What the heck?” He kept eying the pig as if expecting it to answer. Moments later, the front door slammed. He got to the front window just in time to see his wife gun her Subaru out of the driveway.

Shaking his head, he went back to the kitchen, turned off the oven and pulled the burned roast out of it, dumped it in the sink, and started the cold water running over it. He retrieved the broom from the closet and slammed it against the alarm button sending the house into deadly silence.

When the roast stopped smoking, he left the house.

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Don slid his red Harley to a stop in front of Gino’s Pizza behind Carla’s car. He knew she would be here.

He hopped off the bike and headed into the restaurant. When his eyes adjusted to the dim lighting, he found her in a booth near the back. Waving at Gino, he cautiously approached the booth.

Carla’s red, watery eyes met his when he stopped at the table. A double pepperoni pizza sat on the table in front of her. She had a half-consumed mug of beer in her hand.

“Well, are you just going to stand there, or are you going to help me eat this pizza?”

There was that small smile that always made his heart flip. “I thought you’d never ask.”

As Don slid into the booth across from her, Gino approached the table with a small plate of anchovies and another mug of beer.

“Thanks Gino. You never forget the anchovies.” Don popped one of the anchovies into his mouth and offered one to Carla. His wife grimaced.

“No, Mr. Don. You are one of the few who still like the anchovies.” The huge gray mustache almost hid his grin as he left the couple alone.

Carla looked at Don as tears streamed down her face. “You came to find me.”

Don took her hand. “Honey, of course I did. I don’t know why you’re upset, a burned roast is nothing. I was teasing.”

“I know.” She wiped at her tears with a napkin. “It wasn’t the roast. I got my period this morning. Burning the roast was just a reminder that nothing is working for me right now.”

“Nothing?”

“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t say that. We have an amazing marriage, but I’m not pregnant. Again. I can’t even give you a baby.”

Don swallowed hard to keep tears from falling from his own eyes. “Sweetie. I love you. Whether we have a baby or not doesn’t change that. There are other options.”

She was silent for a long time and he began to wonder if she was serious about the divorce. Finally, in a voice so low he had to lean across the table to hear her she whispered, “I know and I’m sorry for overreacting. I didn’t mean it when I said I wanted a divorce. Will you forgive me?”

“Of course. Kiss and make up?”

She drew back with a horrified look on her face. “Make up, yes. Kiss after you’ve eaten one of those horrid creatures, never.”

Don laughed and knew no matter what, they were going to be okay.

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