I got out of my car, at the end of the day, and went to our mailbox but there was nothing in it. I clinked the metal box’s lid back into place and relocked it and walked back towards the apartment. The pond’s jet was streaming upwards, and on the other side of the parking lot, the dumpster’s lid was left open. I could smell it as I walked by. I wondered who would go through all that trouble to pry open those huge lids – which requires walking almost all the way behind the dumpster as you hoist each one up like a flag on the mast of a ship. There was an old office chair in there which had been torn through and had white stuffing coming out of it. There were bags, and cat litter boxes, and Diet Coke boxes, and computer boxes.
I ran up our steps, went inside passed our jumping and exuberant dog, and turned to our bedroom. My wife was in there on her laptop with her pregnant stomach out and rubbing it while she scrolled through options on Netflix. The curtains were drawn so that only a remnant of the late day’s light came in, covering the white walls with the faint flowery blue pattern and a hint of light reflected from the tops of our neighbors’ cars. I kissed her cheek by her ear which smelled like soft skin. I covered that spot with kisses and then sank down into the sheets on our bed with her which sort of consumed us in a sleepy stupor for the next 20 minutes.
“I would love a Philly cheesesteak,” she said.
“What do you want to do for dinner?”
“A Philly cheesesteak.”
“From Penn Station.”
I woke up a few minutes later to her prodding me, her face close to mine, smiling, and I jolted awake. Then her face became pleading. “Can we eat? I’m hungry.” Then I realized immediately that this was the face I’d always wondered about when I was a boy and especially when I was a teenager. What would my wife look like? I’d think. I’d ponder that and wonder what she was doing while I was thinking about her. Perhaps she was thinking about me, her future husband, and wondering what I looked like. But here she was and I didn’t have to wonder anymore. I could just look at her. “Honey, you were asleep.”