Tom woke to a diffused red glow from the bedroom window. It was the rising sun. He stretched and reached his arm to the right expecting to feel Josh sleeping there. Nothing.
Tom turned, yawned, forced his eyes open, and looked where Josh should be. He really wasn’t there, and Tom’s hand didn’t feel any warmth remaining on that side of the bed either.
Josh was almost impossible to wake in the morning and never got up early, so where was he?
Maybe Josh got up to take a leak. Tom looked at the bathroom door. It was open and the light wasn’t on.
Tom was warm, the air was cold, and his body told him he should stay where he was. He looked at the alarm clock. 7:23. Okay, what’s going on? The only way he’d find out would be to get up and look for Josh.
He put on his robe and slippers and opened the bedroom door. There, on the carpet, was a neatly folded grocery bag, the kind with handles. “What the...?” Tom picked it up and continued down the hall. As he turned to go downstairs there was a half-gallon carton of orange juice. Tom put it in the bag and looked down the stairs. Every few steps there was some other item to be added to the bag. A package of bacon, the thick-cut kind; a carton of eggs; a loaf of rye bread; a pound of butter. On the floor at the bottom of the stairs was a jar of orange marmalade.
Tom started to laugh. “Okay, Josh. Come out, come out, wherever you are!” He walked through the family room into the kitchen. There was Josh, sitting at the table, grinning, holding a spatula in one hand and a frying pan in the other.
“Okay, Josh, what’s going on?”
“Happy fifth anniversary.”
Tom was confused. “Fifth anniversary? Of what?”
“Remember when you and I drove up to my folks’ cabin at Juniper Lake to go skiing?”
Tom thought for a couple of seconds. “Uh, yeah. We were what, seventeen? You were able to talk your folks into letting us use the cabin to go skiing.”
“I brought the food, you cooked. OJ, bacon and eggs, rye toast with marmalade. That was our first real date. After we ate we sat in front of the fire. I was so nervous! I wanted to kiss you. But I was scared. Then you leaned over and kissed me. Later we made love, for the first time ever.” Josh grinned and stood. “That was exactly five years ago today. This time you brought the groceries and I’m going to do the cooking for you, my love.”
Tom pulled Josh into a hug, kissed him, and looked in his eyes. “I remember. I fell in love with you in front of that fireplace. After breakfast we’re going to start a fire. Then we’re going to make love. Again and again and....”
And they did.
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