“Are you cold?” he inquired suspiciously.

“Of course not,” she answered. “I’m wearing my big fluffy robe and slippers.”

“They’re ratty,” he sniffed.

“They’re comfy,” she corrected him.

It was too much to bear. Here he had this lovely young wife, and she was continually shuffling around the house in that oversized fleece and furry footwear, even when they had guests.

“Listen, bub,” she would say. “If you’re going to invite your buddies over for a beer at ten o’clock at night, you’re darn right I’m going to meet them in my robe and slippers.”

He pleaded and whined and cajoled, and at last they compromised. He would stop leaving his beard hairs in the bathroom sink if she would refrain from wearing the robe in front of company.

That had been many years ago, many robes and slippers ago, and now when he gazed at her lying prone on the bed that they shared, no longer a pretty young woman but a beautiful old one, he could hardly imagine her in any other outfit. It spoke to him of warm feet and cool hands, of the sheets that they had defrosted together, of the cozy softness of her front-door farewell on chill autumn mornings.

“Who’s coming tonight, honey?” she inquired, her voice muffled by the curves of cushioned cloth tucked gently about her face and neck.

“Everyone!” he answered cheerfully, rearranging the flowers that stood in the vase by her bedside. “Kids, grandkids, your sister, your best friend…”

She was quiet a long moment. “You might have to help me change, sweetheart. I’m not feeling my best, you know.”

“Nah,” he said, pushing the machine by the bed aside and drawing a thick blanket up over her fragile frame. “I think for tonight you can be comfy.”

Lori Schafer is a part-time tax practitioner and part-time writer residing in Northern California. Her work has appeared/is forthcoming in numerous print and online publications, including The Springfield Journal, The Berkeley Undergraduate Journal, Every Day Fiction, e-Romance, The Pittsburgh Flash Fiction Gazette, Romance Flash, Leodegraunce, Vine Leaves Literary Journal, Free Flash Online, Every Day Poets, Ducts Webzine, Separate Worlds, The Journal of Microliterature, Avalon Literary Review, Erotic Review Magazine, Burningword Literary Journal, and that’s Life! Fast Fiction Quarterly. She is currently querying her second novel.

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