a short piece on the hard pits in a long marriage

I put the tube sock in the microwave. Two minutes and thirty seconds. Any longer and it would be too hot on my neck. Cherry pits. Now I just have to stand around and wait for the time to tick off. At my age I hate to waste any minutes…but there you are. Cherry pits in a sock. Who would have thought you could warm them in a sock and use it as a heating pad or hot water bottle? More convenient, is what it is, and I only need it for a couple of minutes before I nod off for the night. Alone these days. I hate sleeping alone.

My, she made a great cherry pie. Flaky crust and a just-barely sweet filling from the tree in our backyard. Baskets of tart red balls canned in Mason jars for the long white winters. I’d come home from a tough day on the line and call out, ‘Got pie, ma?’ She would always roll her eyes like the wife tired of hearing the same stale joke. Only it wasn’t a joke. My mother made pie for us. She didn’t smile a whole lot or fuss much over each of us. But pie, her pie, said a lot. And I knew my wife liked the idea, the appreciation, if not the words. I’m not a clever guy and when you get a good line, you stick with it. The bell dinged and I took out the sock, shaking it to even out the load before I draped it around my neck. Pits. Every third or fourth pie I’d crunch on a pit that snuck into the filling. I didn’t make a fuss over them but I did save them. Hard memories in a long marriage. These days, it’s easier to remember the painful moments. So now I use them to soothe my aching neck and shoulders before I drift off to dream of the cherry pies they came in.

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