Honey, not tonight

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By Dawn Lilly
Washington writer,
Dawn  has written for Chicken Soup for the Soul,
DaySpring Cards, & various publications
Visit her website Dawn Lilly

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I shrugged off the robe I had worn all day and tossed it onto the chair. I didn’t even blink when it slid to the floor in a silken puddle next to my bunny slippers. The bedside clock flashed midnight, then 12:01, and in my sleep-deprived humor, I envisioned my floppy-eared house shoes as Cinderella’s glass slippers.

I was filthy and exhausted. I hadn’t brushed my teeth or combed my hair all day. My feet hurt, my back ached, and my eyes burned like fire.

Both boys woke up that morning with what the neighbor kids had had a few days before. I stripped one bed, and then the other. I washed and dried sheets, blankets, and mattress pads, only to put them back on and remove them again due to vomit and diarrhea. I’d filled the tub and drained it, and filled it and drained it. I’d used every dry towel in the house. Finally, both boys slept.

Quietly, I pulled back the covers and slipped into bed. I sighed as my head hit the pillow.

Prince Charming stirred beside me. “The boys okay?” His hot breath singed the hairs on the back of my neck.

I mumbled and the bed shifted as Dave scooted closer. He swept my hair aside, and kissed the nape of my neck.

I stiffened. “Please, honey, I’m so tired. I just want to sleep.” But Dave snuggled closer.

“Relax,” he said, kneading my sore muscles. Then he brushed a kiss across my shoulder. “Go to sleep,” he whispered.

One by one, the tears fell and soaked my pillow.

King Solomon described love as a blazing fire stoked by a flame so hot that even a rushing river can’t snuff it out. Dave showed me it also simmers. He gave with the expectation of getting nothing in return. Sometimes the sweetest, most intimate lovemaking isn’t sexual at all.

As my lashes fluttered and I drifted off to sleep that night, I thought of Cinderella. She snagged her Prince Charming in a ball gown and glass slippers. Mine found me beautiful in a one-eyed house shoe and a house coat drenched in toddler perfume du jour.


— Dawn Lilly and her Prince Charming live near Seattle, Washington. They have been married for thirty-four years, raised two sons, and love spending time with their five grandchildren. Dawn has written for Chicken Soup for the Soul, DaySpring Cards, and various publications.