Friday, August 08, 2008


"Bubbles? Do you remember that?" He chuckled, shaking his head.

A giggle escaped her. "How could I forget?"

Balancing his glass on the wide wooden arm of the Adirondack chair he occupied, he shifted to put his feet on the gazebo railing. She followed suit, and crossed her legs at the ankles. They sat like that for a long moment, smiling at the sky and listening to the rumbling. The thunder seemed louder than it had just a few minutes earlier. She wondered if the storm would cool things off.

"You were so cute that day."

"Just that day?" she teased.

“No, not just that day. But there’s no denying those bubbles were something else.”

“That’s one way to put it,” she sighed. The years hadn’t dulled the memory; it was so real she closed her eyes, put her head back and saw it all. “It was our first house and I was—”

“So young. Just out of college,” he said softly.

“But I felt so grown-up. Those new appliances…when the delivery guy hooked them up I figured I was in business…”

Black clouds skittered across the sky, bringing the storm ever closer. They paid Mother Nature little attention, they were so intent on their stroll down Memory Lane.

“Oh, you were in business, all right.” He pulled her hand into his, wrapped his fingers around hers and gave a gentle, teasing squeeze. “Leone’s Laundry—oh! And let’s not forget the Italian Kitchen part of it. That’s right, Leone’s Laundry and Italian Take-Out…or was it Italian Blast-Off?”

“Stop it!” She smiled, raising her eyebrows and giving him a fast stare. “Oh, I thought I had it all figured out. I knew you’d be home from work in a little while so I started a big pot of marinara sauce for dinner.”

“That’s right…in that old farmhouse the kitchen was right next to the utility room, remember? Sort of connected, wasn’t it?” He squinted, gazing off at the hills. She knew he didn’t see the scene before him, but the one in his mind.

“Uh huh. There was a doorway between them but the utility/mudroom led from the back door right into the kitchen, remember?” She paused, took a sip of her iced tea, then continued. “Then I figured I’d give the new washer and dryer a test run—”

“Oh, you ran it, all right…”

Pretending she hadn’t heard him, she said, “I dumped the clothes in the machine and set the dial. I remember the tomatoes and garlic were starting to scent the air…oh, I thought I was so smart, right on top of it all—”

“That’s one way to put it.” He chuckled and gave her hand another squeeze.

“Then I put in some detergent and some of that stuff—remember the stuff? That hard water softening junk?”

“Because we had well water,” he said, nodding. “The appliance salesman said we needed it to soften the well water. Who knew he didn’t know what he was talking about?”

The image of the label on the little blue bottle was seared into memory forever. She’d only added one capful—just one!—and before she knew it—

“I turned around, stirred the sauce and put a pot of water on to boil. Before I could pull the pasta from the cupboard the machine started making noises. Weird, scary noises.”


Lightning flashed in the distance but he turned to her and, smiling broadly, urged her on. “What’d you do?”

“I opened the lid.”

“And what’d you see?”

“Bubbles. Lots and lots and—oh, I’d never seen so damn many bubbles. And they were multiplying—fast!”

He’d heard the story countless times but it didn’t matter. He laughed, the sound low and deep, like it came from the pit of his stomach. “Then?”

“I slammed down the lid of the washer, but the bubbles pushed it up. They actually pushed the lid open! And the bubbles—they came flying out of the machine in big, puffy blobs!”

“What’d you do?” The question sounded strangled, he was laughing so hard.

“You know what I did—I did what any young housewife would do! I called the GE hotline, the 800 number. I figured they’d know how to stop the bubbles. The machine was obviously possessed—they had to know how to deal with demonic appliance possession!”


“And what did the lady say? The 800 lady?” His laughter masked the thunder’s rumble. The sweltering heat was forgotten as they saw the mountains of bubbles, smelled the clean, flowery detergent scent of the soap. “What did the GE hotline genius say?”

“‘Oh my!’ Can you believe it? I called asking for help and she said, ‘Oh my!’ By then the bubbles were up past my knees! I couldn’t see the floor—at all—and the machine was jumping around, just spewing big—I mean they were really huge—blobs of bubbles. Blurping and burping—and the lady had the audacity to say ‘Oh my!’ Oh my my foot!” She wiped away a tear with the palm of her free hand. They doubled over, their laughter so loud finches flew out of the tree branches above them.

“What—what—” He gasped, trying to talk around the laughter. Finally he asked, “What did you say?”

“I said—oh, I’ll never forget this—I said ‘Oh my, my behind! My husband is going to be home any minute, and I’ve got a houseful of bubbles! Help me—please, help me!’” She remembered the moment as clearly as if it had happened yesterday. The feel of popping bubbles on her calves, the horror of being such an inept wife. Now, it was funny. But then? It had been—

“Priceless! That’s just what I heard when I walked through the door. I saw you with the phone in your hand, yelling ‘Please help me!’ and I ran toward you, never even seeing the—”

“Stupid bubbles!”

“And I slipped and—”

“Fell,” she said, laughing and clutching her middle. “And I saw you going down so I—”

“Dropped the phone—in the bubbles!—and—”

“Reached for you and—”

“Fell—right on top of me!” He pulled her into an embrace. A quick slide across the chairs brought her right onto his lap. With a tender thumb he wiped the joyful tears from her cheeks and planted a quick kiss on her lips. “We were on the floor, surrounded by bubbles, remember?”

“How could I ever forget?” She smiled, shaking her head.

“You looked so sweet, covered in bubbles,” he murmured, gazing deep into her eyes. “I was so glad you were all right, so happy to have you in my arms, that I couldn’t help myself. Remember?”

She nodded. “Mmm…kissing in the bubbles…how could I forget? It was wonderful…until—”

“That damn smoke alarm went off. I could’ve stayed there forever, right in those bubbles with that machine dancing away in the corner, if it wasn’t for that smoke alarm. What a horrible noise!” He shook his head in disgust.

“The noise? What about the mess in the kitchen? Sauce everywhere! On the ceiling, the floor, the cabinets! Remember?”

A fat raindrop hit her bare thigh, sending a ripple of coolness over her heated skin. A second, then a third, drop fell. Thunder boomed, but still they lingered.

He kissed her. “How could I forget?”


Marianne Arkins said...


Dru said...


aaaawww...truly priceless. Thanks for letting us in on your memories.

Happy Friday!

Anonymous said...

OMG, that's funny. Hubby sounds like a prince. Mine would have been ticked off by the mess!

I can see the bubbles.

:^) Pam

Anonymous said...



Melissa McClone said...

Aw, very sweet!

Anonymous said...

That is so funny, Sarita. I can just see you too!

Aussie Jude x

Anonymous said...

How sweet! He's a doll even with bubbles all over the place!

Mary M.