Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Next Year

Icy rain clattered against the windows. The day was dark and dreary but the roaring fire kept any chilliness from creeping into the room. In fact, it bordered on sweltering and she considered removing her socks. Why did he insist on building such a big fire? A small one would have done just as well.

Temperature was forgotten when she got to the bottom of the box and saw what she had been searching for. Delight made her grin. She snatched it and held her treasure up to the light. So intent on examining the small rectangle, she missed hearing him walk up behind her.

"Where should I put this?"

A grin played at the corner of her lips and she felt temptation call her but she resisted. Barely. Instead she turned and, with a nod of thanks, took the mug he offered. She sipped. Then, a grimace as it hit her taste buds. White chocolate cocoa. An oxymoron, that. The idea was a good one but the actual taste? Not as great. She took a second, tentative, sip. There. It went down easier.

Must be an acquired taste, she thought as she looked longingly at his mug of real hot chocolate.

"What's all this? Isn't that the little box you got out of the greenhouse yesterday?" He tapped a fingertip on the small, clear plastic shoebox that was now empty.

"Uh huh." Slow sips, that was the ticket. If she had imagination enough to write book, then surely she could imagine the cup of hot white stuff into rich, satisfying cocoa, couldn't she?

"All of this," he waved his arm over the tidy stacks of seed packets that covered the table. "Came from that?"

"Uh huh." No. It was impossible. No amount of imagination was going to turn the foamy white mess into coca. She used an empty packet as a coaster, placing the half-empty mug far enough from her that she wouldn't be stupid enough to take another sip. "They're this year's seeds. Or what's left of them, anyway."

"What're all these little piles?"

She pointed, ignoring the steam coming from the mug. "Those are empties that I'm going to order again. They're empties that we weren't too crazy about. These are the ones that we loved."

"So...what's the deal with the empty packets? And those--aren't they still full?" He picked up a packet of Roma tomato seeds and gave it a squeeze. It crackled between his fingers. "We didn't plant these?"

A fast head shake was his answer as she snatched the seeds from him and placed the packet back where it belonged. "The empties are to remind me next year what we planted this year. That way I'll know we didn't like," she chose a packet at random from the not-so-crazy-about pile. "Lima beans."

"I could've told you that, even without an empty seed envelope."

She ignored him. "But I'll remember the walking stick kale was fun. And that we really liked those yellow tomatoes and the hot, round peppers. I'll know the white pumpkins grew well but the--"

His hand shot up. "I get it. So what you're telling me is that, even though we just tilled the last vegetable bed two days ago and it's getting set to snow, you're planning next spring's gardens. Is that it?"

"That's it." She picked up her pen and turned to the seed list in front of her. It was easier to pretend she didn't see the eye roll that she knew accompanied his long, tortured sigh.

A fast kiss on the top of her head made her smile. They might not always understand each other but that was a detail quickly overlooked.

"You don't want this white cocoa, do you?"


"But the doctor said no caffeine so that means no chocolate." He brought the mug closer. "What do you say?"

"Let the doctor drink it." She gently pushed his hand aside.

"All right. I'm going to get an apple. Want one?"

"No, thanks." She jotted a few notes, then called over her shoulder. He was halfway to the kitchen already but his footsteps halted so she knew he heard her. "But could you bring some ice cream?"

"Ice cream? But it's snowing outside!"

A wide grin spread across her face as she looked down at the shapes, colors and varieties spread before her. So many options... Her heart warmed. "That's all right," she called. "Old Man Winter can snow all he wants. In here, spring's just around the corner!"


Wendy said...

This is priceless, my friend! I love these conversations. Thanks for sharing.

Melissa McClone said...

Fun post.

I have never understood the appeal of white chocolate at all.

Dru said...

That was sweet and I'm with you on the white chocolate..can't drink or eat it. Chocolate is supposed to be brown.

Ice cream can be eaten all year round.

Have a great Wednesday. I'm off to get the embroidery stuff today.

Anonymous said...

The only thing that can make white chocolate palatable is rum. Lots of rum.

I totally have garden envy. ::sigh::

TheDan said...

"No amount of imagination was going to turn the foamy white mess into coca." But coca can be turned into cocaine. (Sorry. I couldn't help myself...)

Nice vignette, though. I don't know how you find the time to do this, with all your other writing.