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Days of Our Years


Harry Buschman

Part 2 - This Afternoon

It was late afternoon when Barney put the bags down and fished in his pocket for the key. The honeymoon was over.

He was still seething about the taxi driver, he turned to Sheila and grumbled, "They said it would be $28.50 when I made the reservation. That's what they said, right?"

"Oh, Barney -- don't fuss. It was a lovely honeymoon, wasn't it?"

"I suppose so; first one for me." He unlocked the door and pushed it open. The living room blinds had been pulled down to the window sills and it was dark, musty smelling and almost forbidding. "I'll get the lights, Sheila -- don't come in. We don't know where anything is -- we'll fall over something."

He found the wall switch, and Sheila gasped. "Mother! She's got the sofa on the wrong wall -- and look at that oak chair, that belongs in the bedroom. Before we do anything else Barney, we've got to put this room straight."

Barney collapsed on the sofa. "Let it go 'til tomorrow Sheila -- tomorrow. I'm bushed -- I got up at four this morning."

Sheila stared critically at the sofa. "It looks a lot different here than it did in the store, a different blue."

"It was the lights," Barney said sleepily, "The showroom had fluorescent lights." He yawned and pulled off his shoes. "Fluorescent lights make everything look green."

"I suppose I'll get used to it. It was nice of mother, wasn't it? She spent a week here in the empty apartment waiting for the furniture."

"What else does she have to do?"

"Really, Barney! Give her credit for that at least." Sheila threw her arms wide as if to embrace the entire living room. "It's ours Barney, all ours. Our first apartment. We're really and truly married. Aren't you glad we waited?"

"For what?"

"I think you know 'what.' If you had your way we'd .... anyway, I'm glad we waited. It was all the sweeter, Barney. It was a beautiful honeymoon. Whoever heard of a honeymoon in Nova Scotia in April? It rained every day."

"The sun came out one afternoon, I remember -- I looked out the window one afternoon and the sun was out." Barney got wearily to his bare feet and pattered his way out to the kitchen. He opened the refrigerator and swore softly.

"What's the matter, Barney?"

"Two little things of yogurt, a jar of mustard and a loaf of damn gluten bread. You think she might of left something to eat!" He walked to the wall phone and dialed 'operator.' "I need a number for Domino's, sweetheart -- nearest one to area code 11514."

Sheila, still enraptured, appeared at the kitchen door. "I'm so glad we waited, Barney. As the years go by we'll think back to this day, our first day in our own home as man and wife, and ...."

.... "Thank you operator can you get that number for me?" He sat down carefully on one of the two new kitchen chairs and put his feet up on the new kitchen table. A reproving glance from Sheila made him sit up straight again and put his feet on the floor. "Hi! Name's Trammel, 37 Lilac Way apartment 3-C .... I want a large pie with double cheese, anchovies and mushrooms. .... 20 minutes? -- $16.50? -- you gotta deal -- Oh, wait a minute; half liter of coke and a bottle of Bud, okay?"

"You're so masterful, Barney." Sheila sat on Barney's outstretched legs, put her arms around his neck and locked her fingers. "Aren't you glad we waited?"

He looked at her as a man might look at a woman who was not his wife.

"Yes and no, Sheila. Yes and no. On balance I'd say mostly no." He held her so she couldn't get up. "Before you blow up let me say something, okay?"


"We could have been just as happy six months ago. We would have had a six month head start on happiness -- think of it Sheila, when we're wheeled in and out of the old folks home sixty years from now and somebody says -- 'here's six more months of wedded bliss,' how would that sound to you?"

Sheila was smart enough to know when to drop it -- she'd get him to admit it some day. She slid out of his grip and opened the refrigerator. "I can't believe Mother would leave us an empty refrigerator -- she must have known we'd come back hungry." She saw a bottle of champagne in a slot in the door. "Look there's champagne. You didn't see that did you?"

"I saw it -- I was looking for something to eat."

"Let's have some now, before the pizza comes. To celebrate our first night."

"No glasses."

"We have glasses. We bought glasses, they must be up here somewhere." She  opened a closet above the sink. "Here," she said. "Here's two glasses."

"You can't drink champagne out of water glasses, Sheila. It just isn't done." He smiled evilly .... "You'll be glad you waited."

"Never mind that. Work the cork open -- I want some champagne now."

"First comes the pizza, Sheila -- then you can have the champagne."

Part 3

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