The Kiss

Trish O’Brien-Edwards

His kiss hello was deeper than normal and tasted of garlic. She recognized it as marinara sauce, from the Italian restaurant around the corner from where he worked. The place with the white table clothes and the waiters dressed in black. The place that was too expensive for him to take her on a regular basis, but was saved for special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries.

“How was Di Salvo’s?” she asked, her voice higher and louder than usual. She tried to force it to be normal, but she forgot what normal was. “If I’d known you were having Italian for lunch, I would have made something else for dinner.” She waved her hands over the spaghetti dinner she was assembling. She had already chopped the ripe tomatoes and was adding them to the sauce. Only the garlic was left. She put it off to the end because she hated the smell and she feared the big knife she needed to mince it with.

“A client. I went with a client.” His words chased each other from his mouth.

“Do you mind eating pasta again?”

“Not at all.” He walked to the stove and lifted the lid, dipping the wooden spoon into the red sauce. He blew on it, before touching it to his mouth.

He had scratches on the back of his neck, where his dark hair had begun to curl from the steam of the kitchen. They were fresh and deep, not done by his bitten nails. His hand reached up to cover them, and she turned away.

“Delicious,” he said, licking his slightly swollen lips. “Much better than Di Salvo’s.”

“Who was the client?” she asked.

“No one you know.” He opened the cupboards where the plates and glasses were kept, and began to set the table. “How about a bottle of wine?” he asked.

She nodded in agreement. They rarely drank wine with dinner, but he seemed intent on making the evening different.

“Do I have time to take a shower before dinner?” he asked, taking her into his arms. She could smell cigarettes on him and a hint of musk.

“Of course.” She pulled away from him and watched him go to wash off his day.

“I thought we might go look at cars this weekend. I know how much you want a new one,” he said at the kitchen door.

She waited to hear the shower start before picking up the knife. She set to mincing the garlic, taking quick chops. She thought as she worked, putting the pieces together in her mind. She rearranged them until she came up with a sunny life again. The knife slipped, nicking her finger. She put it in her mouth, tasting her own blood.


“I am a graduate of Iowa State University where I studied literature and creative writing. I live in Ames, Iowa with my husband of twelve years.” E-mail: trishieo[at]

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