It was safe to go out. The sidewalks had been shoveled. She donned her winter gear and he his. This storm wouldn’t keep them from their walk, just as none of the others had. Or the fact that she wanted to punch him.

He knew she was pissed. It’s easy to tell when you’re gal is mad, but not always easy to tell why. This time he knew why. He couldn’t undo what he’d done. The dilemma was what to do now?

They walked down the sidewalk in front of their house, each sticking close to the snowbank on their side. She wondered why Edward had done it. Again. He was not stupid. She would not have married an idiot. Did he do it on purpose? No. She did not marry a cruel man. Why did he do these things?

They rounded the corner and walked down the busier cross-street. Edward sighed. Why did Dot get angry so easily? She had a plan for everything, and he admired that. He didn’t understand why such a slight deviance engendered such anger. He glanced at her. Those hazel eyes sparkled and still bewitched him. He grinned.

Dot rolled her eyes. Now he thought grinning stupidly would save him. She looked at the pavement and smiled. It usually did. But not today. She would stand firm. She couldn’t tolerate carelessness. What else could it be? She would spell it out clearly. How would she say it?

The snow had been deep, and when the driveways were shoveled, the piles came up to Edward’s chest. Impressive, even from a northerner’s perspective. He whistled in appreciation. Dot frowned. Oh, right, they were mad at each other. Maybe if he said he would never do it again, she would hold his hand. He opened his mouth to speak.

Dot glared at him and thought, “Don’t even.” His mouth snapped shut. She looked at the mounds of white glimmering in the sun. She squinted. It was one of those crystal days after a snow storm that made it hard to believe any storm had blown through. Maybe she could start her conversation with, “I have certain standards…” Or was that too snotty?

They turned another corner, and down the road they could see the park. It was cold. In Michigan, they called it “booger-freezing” cold. When he and Dot walked in the warm weather, Edward always brought a snack and they would sit on the hill and enjoy the refreshments he’d carried. He should have brought a thermos of hot chocolate. That would have warmed Dot. Next time. He leaned toward her.

Dot folded her arms. Did he really think holding her hand was going work? Not this time! She would continue her speech with, “I love you dear, but sometimes…”. She used that a lot. Maybe she should say something else this time.

Edward adjusted his hat. Dot was extra prickly this time. It wasn’t a bouquet offense, he knew that. He was stumped because it was somewhere between a hand-hold offense and a bouquet-offense. He still hadn’t determined a protocol for that level. In fact, it wasn’t even a level. It was more of a quagmire. How does one navigate a quagmire? Very carefully, his inside voice said.

Dot could see the park now. It was busy. The little hill was full of children rocketing down and slogging back up. Why didn’t Edward just learn? Maybe this time she’d just yell, “Listen, buster, you need to shape up!” No, too subversive. She’d stick with , “I love you dear…”.

They entered the park and followed the path to the hill. Edward could hear the faint shouts and cacophony of the sledders. He would say, “Let me have it.” She could rail at him and then all would be fixed. The peace of their household would be restored, quagmire avoided, and all would be right with the world.

Edward and Dot stopped at the bottom of the hill and watched the sleds hurtle down the incline. They were mesmerized, all thoughts suspended. Dot put her mittened hand out and bumped into Edward’s. They squeezed briefly and Edward put his arm around Dot’s shoulders. Dot put her arm around Edward’s waist. After 66 years, words just got in the way.

716 words

Today’s prompt is to write about a couple.

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