They always made love on Saturdays. With 6 kids running around the house, and eventually grandchildren, Saturday mornings were the best. It was the only time they could be alone. The older children could now drive the younger ones to the practices – dance, soccer, swimming. She loved Saturday mornings.
Daisy would hear him breathing as he would awake. She always slept on the right side of the bed with her back facing him. She would lay there with her eyes closed, letting the sunlight beam through her lids. His snores slowly turning into softer breaths. Without realizing it, she would elongate her neck and slightly twist it in preparation for his kisses.
He would roll over, snuggle into her back, pause, and then she would feel his soft white curls seeking to find the space between her shoulder and her head. Those curls used to be the color of bark, never quite black, but too dark to call brown. In his younger years, he kept his hair cropped and well-coiffed with pomades that smelled like vanilla candy. Over the last few years, he let them grow wild on top of a bearded face. His beard uncomfortably scratched her shoulders, but when it met her neck, she longed for more of it to wrap around her.
The kisses were light. She would continue to pretend she was sleeping, letting out soft moans. Daisy would coyly move her body away, he would grab her back into his arms, securing his grasp. She liked that. She would listen for any movement in their 3 bedroom house. Joseph, the eldest, would sometimes show up unannounced, especially lately. He would cheerfully shout out to Daisy pleading for her to make walnut pancakes with butter, trying to redirect his mother’s sorrow.
The kisses came closer to her ear. “Daisy, honey, it’s time to wake up,” her husband would sing up and down to her. His hand slid down her thigh, his warm body moving so close to her that she thought they would mould together, “Daisy, honey…”
She felt his warm breath on her face, “Daisy…”
It was such a frivolous game. She knew what he wanted and he knew she wasn’t sleeping, but they kept up the charade because it reminded them of their younger years. A time when they would flirt shamelessly over dinner, in classes, in front of friends. Daisy had read in Woman’s Own magazine that when a woman was interested in a man, she should lay her hand lightly on his while laughing. It seemed like a bold move for their first dinner date, but Daisy didn’t have to try too hard.
Saturdays were the best days.
Until there were no more Saturdays.
Daisy turned to look at the empty space where her husband used to sleep. Mornings were unbearable now. The kids were adults and worked during the week. The grandkids went to school. She no longer woke up to see him bustling around the house trying to start his mornings. She touched his pillow and rubbed the top of it wondering if he knew how much she missed him. She pulled it closer and inhaled, in hopes that his scent was still there, trying to recall the vanilla scented dark hair days. Daisy wondered if he knew how much she had loved him and how much those Saturdays meant.
Once a week, she would forget her duties: washing clothes, picking up kids, making dinner for yet another business meeting. For a couple of hours during the weekend, she was his greatest love. Daisy saw it in his eyes. She felt it move in her stomach. After making love, they would go to the kitchen for coffee. She would toss on a long t-shirt. He wouldn’t bother to do anything more than wrap their flowered printed flat sheet around his waist. She hated that, but she loved sitting in his lap while the water brewed. She counted the grey hairs on his chest. He would tell her she was still beautiful and she would blush like she always did.
Daisy started her bath. He always liked the smell of lilacs. He would often comment after her baths that he wished he could carry that scent with him. He said he’d bottle it, stick it in his pocket, and when he missed her, he would pull it out and inhale deeply. For all the important birthdays, he would send her lilacs at the house. He would never bring them for her; rather, he chose to break up her monotonous days with a surprise gift at the door. Once, he asked her to take a photo of her covering her breasts with them and send to his email at work for fun. She couldn’t do it. At this moment, she wished she had.
The water was warm. Daisy lowered herself into it, while the bathroom filled with Linda Ronstadt’s voice. She leaned her head back and soaked in the music, “I crossed a river, there’ll be no returning…”
Daisy thought about how proud she was of her children. Each one looked just like him. It wasn’t a surprise that his genes would have been stronger. He was always brighter than she could ever be. He never knew that about himself, but Daisy did. She saw it in everything he did.
She had set a bottle of wine next to her bath and began to drink it as she listened to Ronstadt belt out, “And now I’m a stranger, to a strange land, I’m driven…”
Daisy decided to untie her hair, cascading sheets of silver flowed onto her shoulders. She could still spot stubborn black strands in it. She was happy her hair had aged that way. He never thought she should color it. He thought the silver glowed around her like a halo making her shine, highlighting her elegance.
Halfway through the bottle, she leaned over to turn up the radio. Her heart sank. She shivered. These days without him were torture. Even on the few nights the kids stopped by, she couldn’t find the energy to be present. Those faces were his faces. While she loved them, she hated being reminded that she would never see his face again.
His face… She remembered his face on the last days – covered with plastic cups and tubes shoved down his throat. His wrinkled dry hand laid to his side and she would touch it, not lightly like when she used to flirt with him. She grabbed it, squeezed it as hard as she could. She brought it to her face and kissed it furiously with tears running down her cheeks and around their hands.
Daisy remembered the fan that would blow on the few curls he had left on his head. She wondered if he was cold. He never moved anymore, not even to make eye contact which was all she wanted from him. “Please,” Daisy thought, “Just look at me one time,” but he never did. He fell away. There would be no more Saturdays.
She wasn’t afraid of living her life alone. She had her children and grandchildren. She had her friends, Julie and Nancy, who still were able to drive. On occasion, they would drive two towns over for blueberry milkshakes. Mr. Johnassen, the postman, fancied Daisy and she was flattered. Being alone was not a fear.
Daisy took off her gold cross and laid it on the table next to the wine. The kids gave it to her for 50th birthday. She sat up straight in the tub, then picked up the razor she placed next to the bottle of wine. She inhaled the bubble bath, listened to Linda one more time, and sunk back into the tub with her head back. She lifted her arms out of the water and cried as she penetrated her wrist with the razor. It stung, but she knew she couldn’t turn back once the blood started flowing. Her tears slowed when she cut her second wrist, but this time the blood flowed out of her skin faster. She felt light headed, closed her eyes, dreaming about Saturdays.