Another Rejected 800 Word Short

“Wishing for a Cruise”

            “And the next stop on the cruise will be St. Thomas.  I just can’t wait to see….”

            I found myself tuning out Lina.  I knew I should be happy for her, but this was their  fifth cruise, while our family still hadn’t even been to Disney.  And, it didn’t look like we would make it any time soon with the cuts in Jack’s overtime

            “Are you there?”

            “I’m here, Lina.  I better get the kids going on their homework.  I hope you have a great time on your cruise.  Tell Bill I said ‘Hi!’”

            I hung up the phone, but rather than calling the kids from outside, I started supper.  I muttered, “By the time we can afford a cruise, we’ll be wearing Depends under our bathing suits and playing shuffleboard from a scooter,” and slammed cupboard doors.  I banged the sides of the bowl emphatically, as I mixed the meatloaf.

            The banging reminded me of the time Jack and I joined the kids in their rock and roll band.  Jack had even let Gina gel his hair into a mohawk.  ‘What the neighbors must have thought that night!’ I chuckled.  ‘Jack was on a roll with lyrics.  Timmy was giggling so hard that he couldn’t catch his breath.’

            “What’s so funny, Mom?” Gina skipped in from the backyard. 

I reminded her about our pots and pans band.

“We have that on the same video that our April Fool’s prank from last year is on!  Remember how fun it was to trick Dad!”

I grinned, thinking of the expression on Jack’s face when he thought there was a skunk a foot away from the garbage can he had been about to open.  When Timmy had lifted the stuffed skunk’s tail from around the side of the garage by pulling on fishing line, Jack had run for the house faster than he had ever sprinted during his high school track meets. I had caught the whole thing on video.

“I’m sorry for giving you and Dad a hard time last night, Mom.  I was being a jerk about you not getting me those boots.  We don’t always have the money some of my friends do, but I bet they don’t have as much fun with their family as we do.”

I gave Gina a hug, as she asked, “When’s dinner?”

“As soon as Daddy gets home.  Why don’t you call Timmy in and get started on your homework.”

The meatloaf was just about ready when I heard Jack’s signature knock on the front door, the three long dashes, three short raps, and three long, of a reversed SOS.  My husband had come up with this knock as a way of showing gratitude for another day of coming home safe.  “I see all kinds of terrible things when I go into houses to make arrests,” he had said when I asked him about it, “I was just thinking as I was about to come in, how safe and welcoming you have made our home.  It’s the total opposite of the danger I often feel on the job.”

Gina and Timmy ran toward the front door.  I gathered up the kids’ school supplies and began setting the table, while listening to the sounds of tickle attacks, giggling, and questions in between.

“Did you learn anything is school today?”

“Hey, did you handcuff any bad guys?”

Then my guy was entering the kitchen.  “Something sure smells good!”  Those brown eyes were twinkling.  Jack leaned down and sniffed my neck as if it were me that he was hungry for, not the meatloaf and mashed potatoes that I had just set on the table. 

During dinner, I noticed Jack glancing at the clock a few times.  I remembered one of his favorite shows was coming on soon.  

I was surprised when Jack stayed in the kitchen after the kids had been excused and helped me carry dishes to the sink.

“I saw Bill Bradshaw today.  He was representing one of the drug dealers I arrested.”

“That’s funny.  I was just talking to Lina today too.”

“Bill was saying that he and Lina are going on another cruise.”

“Yes,” I said shortly, beginning to scrub at the meatloaf pan vigorously.

Jack came up behind me and wrapped his arms around my waist.  “I thought maybe we could go on a little cruise of our own.”

The doorbell rang. 

“That would be Maria,” Jack grinned at me.  “She’s going to baby-sit the kids, get them to bed and everything.  And, you and me, little lady, we are going to cruise around town and hit some of our old haunts.” 

I turned around and pressed my lips to Jack’s.  Not exactly the sort of cruise I was so envious about earlier, but it was good enough for me.

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