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Nickel Slot

She is scraping the macaroni and cheese off of our daughter’s plate and into the sink. It is the stuff from a box that has the unnatural, luminous orange color that looks like some Chernobyl experiment gone awry.

Landry, the five-year old who left the radioactive remains, has gone into the living room to watch more Lion King on the Ipad. I’m glad she’s at an age where she can entertain herself. I didn’t need her to leave the kitchen, and she has seen us being affectionate before, but it is a mild thrill to have her mother to myself for a moment.

I walk behind Catie and put my hand on the small of her back. Her progress on the dishes continues but is half a beat slower. I can feel her smile. I rest my hand there. I don’t allow the rest of me to touch her back, her shoulders, her arms. I’ll let the left hand do the work. I shift that hand lower at a gradual, almost glacial pace. Two fingers push under the white waistband. Two fingers approach the narrow valley. Approach. Peek in. She leans back into my hand. I open the remaining fingers to take in more of her lower back. I press the hand into her back. All progress on the dishes stops.

She turns her head. She leaves the rest of her body right where it is. When I get this way, I have that newborn-just-got-fed-now-contented-and-drifting-off-to-sleep smile. I know that when you write an erotic story you’re not supposed to mention children or babies, but that I’m-content-and-all-is-good-with-the-world smile is what I feel at that moment. She mirrors my smile, but there is a shadow of fear and sadness around that smile.  

Side note—when we are like this, she sometimes punctuates her language with words she never uses otherwise. You’ll see what I mean.

She notices we’re in the kitchen alone, so she doesn’t have to completely whisper. In a lowered voice she says, “I cannot tell you how much I want to fuck tonight. Your hand on my ass is so delicious. I’m so glad you want me.”

She lifts herself up on her toes so that my fingers probe a bit further.

“Tonight it will be soothing to have you next to me in bed, but all of the things that we want to do…can we do them in two days? I’m all in knots inside, and in 48 hours I will be able to be fully present with you.”

I know she means it. I understand what it means to be in knots, and I know what it means to realize you won’t be able to ease into being as fully present as you want. When I reply, I hope that these words, some warm breath, and a nibbled kiss on her ear communicate what I feel: “It’s a date.”

I add, “I fucking love you.” 

She returns with our standard-but-still-surprising reply: “I love fucking you!”

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