I watched her standing over the stove, lost in thought and staring a hole through the skillet. From the intensity of her expression, I would have sworn that it wasn’t the eye of the stove, but her eyes causing the eggs to bubble and pop in the pan. Her spatula flicked back and forth, stirring the yellow yolks until they formed thick, billowy mounds, their color fading into a soft pastel yellow. They reminded me somehow of a blanket that I once bought for my co-worker Margie’s baby shower. Warm and lumpy and comfortable.
I came up behind her and wrapped my arms around her waist, pulling her torso back to me and stretching my hands around her belly. It was soft and round and was my favorite part of her. Actually, anything not covered by clothing was my favorite part.
She leaned back into me, still worrying with the eggs, but her expression relaxing slightly. “Whatcha thinkin’?” I asked, nuzzling her neck. She sighed a little and paused her stirring. “Nothing. Just thinking,” she said, her voice as distant as her mind. “Do you want chives in your eggs or do you want them plain?”
I moved my hand upward, pulling her hair to the side so I could see over her shoulder into the pan. “Chives. And cream cheese? I would really love some cream cheese.”
She laid the spatula down on the spoon rest and walked over to the fridge, standing on the tips of her toes, searching the shelves for the little white plastic container.
“Dammit.” She looked at me over her shoulder. “I don’t see any,” she said while scanning the shelves and bins a second time. I could see the chill air from the fridge beginning to prick her skin, making tiny goose pimples ripple across her body. “Stir those eggs for me, Mark.” she said. I walked over behind her and gave the back of her arm a quick kiss, trying again to pull her into another early morning hug.
“Did you hear me? Eggs?” she snapped, turning to me and giving me the same glare she had given to the eggs earlier. Except this time it wasn’t full of fire, it was full of ice.
“Okay…okay…don’t get all bent out of shape. I just love it when you walk around the house in your skivvies, that’s all. No one else’s girl makes them breakfast on Sunday mornings. Especially in their underwear.”
I turned to walk back to the stove and the damn eggs. They were beginning to bubble faster and faster, hissing as the albumin solidified from the heat. I lifted up a portion of the yellow mass with the spatula. “I think they’re done, Sarah. They’re getting kind of brown on the bottom.”
“Well take them off, then!” she said, giving me a glare, then wiping her eyes so I wouldn’t see that she was crying. After six years she still thinks I don’t know what she looks like when she cries. “Don’t worry about the cream cheese, babe. I don’t need it anyway,” I said, puffing out my stomach and patting it.
“It’s not the cream cheese…nothing. Nevermind. Take the eggs off please, if they’re burning.” She stuck her head back in the fridge, letting out a little sniff as she tried to conceal her state of duress.
I complied, turning off the eye and scooping out the eggs onto a platter. Sarah walked back over to me, avoiding eye contact as she began chopping up the chives. “Tomatoes?” she asked, keeping her gaze toward the counter.
Placing my hand in the middle of her back, I began to rub gently in circles, trying to coax it out of her. “Is everything okay at work? That douche Charles isn’t shoving his reports off on you again, is he?”
Sarah remained silent. The only sound I could hear was the chop, chop, chop of the steel knife against the cutting board. The smell of the peppery chives filled the kitchen. She began chopping faster, trying to fill the silent space, the tips of her fingers securing the herbs as she made even, succinct slices.
“Sarah.” Pause. Still no answer. “Sarah!” I said, taking the knife from her and placing it on the counter. “Please tell me what is wrong?” I turned her around to face me, looking in her red-rimmed eyes, still leaking tears.
“Look…I’m making eggs. There’s no deeper meaning to anything I’m doing here. It’s breakfast. Plain and simple.” She looked down at the floor and I could see the little dimple in her chin begin to crinkle and quiver. Seconds later she broke out in a deep sob.
I pulled her close to me and held her for a moment as she buried her face in my shoulder. I let her compose herself before I pulled back, cupping her beautiful chin in my hand. I always loved her chin.
“Sarah, you can tell me anything, you know that. Please, honey. Why are you crying?”
She rubbed her eyes and ran her hand through her hair, staring at the wall behind me. Her eyes glazed over like marbles and she remained silent for a moment more. “I’m pregnant,” she said, her voice trailing off to some unknown place. “I’m. Pregnant.”