A year after I helped Shania bury her husband (we always referred to him as the ex), Shania and I were married, in a church, no less. Shania’s vision had a spiritual aspect that I hadn’t anticipated. While I had some trepidation about this facet and the effect it would have on our relationship, my wife, my brilliant, intelligent, and incredibly beautiful wife proceeded to educated me.
“What we have,” she explained, “transcends this plane of existence.”
“Of course it does,” I replied, smiling. “We live on in the DNA of our children, and their children, and our great-grandchildren.” It was scientific and made sense.
She gave me the slow shake of her head. “We don’t have any children,” she reminded me.
“Well, not yet,” I agreed. “But, we will, won’t we?”
“Yes, I hope so. But suppose we didn’t. Even so, what we have and who we are doesn’t simply end.”
“So, you believe in an afterlife?”
“In some form, yes,” she replied.
“But, at the funeral, you said the ex hadn’t thought beyond his own existence.”
“That was him,” she said. “Not me.”
“See, the problem is there are all those rules and rituals. I’m not sure what effect that will have on us.”
She took my face in her soft hands and looked into my eyes. “Does it seem like I get wrapped up and rules and rituals?”
“Not so far,” I acknowledged.
“You and I extend into eternity,” she said. “Our love and our vision, that is eternal.”
“What if it isn’t?” I challenged.
“It is, my love.”
I sighed. “You are my love and my life,” I told her. “I will do whatever you want me to do.”
She shook her head slowly again. “It won’t work like that, Eric. We have to do this together, just like we decided to be together, to make a life, to become the unified entity that we have created.”
“Shania,” I began.
“I know,” she grinned. “I love you, too.”
“You’re still doing that,” I whined.
“So are you,” she grinned brightly. “Every time you say my name I hear you say ‘I love you.’ I like it.”
“You know, you can be indescribably frustrating.”
“Only when I’m right, and you know it, but you don’t want to admit it.”
“By now, I would have thought you’d have learned I’m a pretty down-to-earth sort of guy,” I said, making the last-gasp effort to change her mind.
“I know you are. Maybe that’s why I came into your life; to show you there is more than just the here and now, and that our love goes on and on forever.”
Shania began to develop a glow about six months later. I warily approached the issue.
“Is that some sort of spiritual thing going on?” I asked her.
“You might call it an in-dwelling,” she said.
“Okay,” I replied slowly. “That mean things are going to change?”
“Most definitely,” she said, beaming. “I’m pregnant.”
“Holy crap!” I said. I realized that I was nearing 50 and was about to be a father.
Shania’s joy was infectious. Throughout the pregnancy, the hormonal changes, even the bouts with morning sickness, Shania simply radiated an aspect of pure delight. I learned to be a coach. When Erica Shania entered the world I was humbled, overwhelmed, and amazed to behold my stunning wife holding the product of our love for one another.
“She’s as beautiful as her mother,” I whispered to my wife.
Nine months later, the glow returned to Shania.
“Again?” I asked her.
She nodded, her eyes gleaming. “A boy, this time,” she said with certainty, “for you.”
Shane Eric came out kicking and fighting.
“Where is the contentment?” I laughed as Shania nursed the fussing baby boy.
“Erica has your contentment,” she informed me. “This little fellow has all of my contrary nature wrapped up in the male form.”
We hired a nanny to help Shania with the two children. Nanny Matilda was close to sixty and doted on the babies. Our focus shifted to concerns for the well-being of our offspring. We found a larger home close to excellent schools. We moved in and set up housekeeping, bringing Nanny Matilda with us.
We’d been settled for about three months. The children and Nanny Matilda had retired for the night. Shania was reading in an easy chair as I scanned the channels for something to pique my interest.
“Do you remember the brown liquid?” Shania asked me.
I clicked off the remote. “The bourbon?” I replied. “Yeah, I remember.”
“Should I tell you what I was really thinking that day?”
“You can tell me anything, my love. It won’t make a whit of difference in how I love you.”
“Well,” she said, “that day when the elevator was broken, I saw you at your door. I thought, ‘There’s that nice guy. Wonder if he’d do me.’”
“You really thought that?”
“I did. I was a slut.”
I laughed aloud. “You were never a slut.”
“You just didn’t know. Anyway, you gave me the bourbon the day of the funeral.”
“Before and after, if I recall.”
“After. And, I thought, ‘Maybe he’s trying to get me drunk so I’ll fuck him.’ But, you weren’t. And then, when you said my name, it really became obvious you loved me.”
“I don’t see how you could have determined that,” I argued. “I didn’t even know you.”
“Complete bullshit, Eric,” she said, laughing. “You loved me the first time you saw me.”
“Excuse me,” I protested. “You were a married lady the first time I saw you.”
“That’s why you said unrequited love is a bitch. I was the bitch you were in unrequited love with. Except that you didn’t know that I was checking you out.”
“It became pretty obvious when you demanded I take you to bed,” I laughed.
“I told you. I was a slut back then.”
“You were never a slut, Shania.”
“Honey, I was. I was your slut. I was absolutely determined that you were going to fuck me that first night.”
“So all that vision stuff was just a ploy to get me into the sack?”
“No, of course not. We’re living it, darling. No, but that playing with the clock thing. You remember? ‘It’s not Saturday, it’s Sunday morning.’ It was still the first night and we did it.”
“You tricked me,” I said, trying to sound defeated.
“I knew once you fucked me that you’d be mine forever.”
“Darling,” I said softly, “I was yours when you kissed me in front of 3C.”
She grinned at me. “And the yellow sundress?”
“But you didn’t know I hadn’t worn a bra or panties, did you?”
“Are you serious?”
“I told you, darling, I was a slut.”
“And I loved you in spite of it.”
“You didn’t have a clue.”
“You’re right,” I admitted. “I was so concerned that I shouldn’t take advantage of you.”
“And all the time, I was trying to manipulate you into screwing me.”
“You devious wench,” I chuckled.
There was a long silence. “Will you take me into your bed?” Shania asked.
“I would, darling. But I don’t have a bed. We have a bed.”
“Take me to bed, Eric,” she said.
“You have to kiss me first,” I answered. “I don’t sleep with just any slut. Only those sluts who are truly in love with me.”
Shania walked over to me and pressed her knee between my legs. She knelt on the chair, wrapped her arms around my neck and leaned forward. The kiss she gave me was reminiscent of the one on the landing in front of her old apartment.
“I have loved you forever,” she whispered when she pulled back from the kiss, “and now I want to feel your love inside me.”
“All that I am, all that I have is yours, my darling Shania,” I replied.
“Like velvet,” she sighed. “And I love you, too.”
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