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Only In My Dreams

Delia Cummings lowered her bulk carefully into her easy chair and lifted her swollen feet onto the footstool. Dinner was finished and the kitchen tidied and now she could rest for awhile.
        Charlie was already resting, judging by the snores coming from the recliner. Used to be they'd sit and cuddle on the sofa after dinner, their feet entwined on the coffee table. Now they not only sat in separate chairs, it seemed like they led separate lives.
        When the babies started coming (three in five years), there had been no time to cuddle and she often wondered where they found to energy to make the fourth baby. As the kids grew a little older, they swore they would find that intimacy again, but it never happened.
        The kids were finally all in school and Delia went to work in the bakery to help out with the bills. It was only part-time, four hours a day so she'd be home when the kids came in from school,. But then they needed to start saving for braces and college and never seemed to get ahead. She'd increased her hours to six a day and worked every other weekend as well. Even with that, there were doctor bills and Little League and prom dresses and sneakers that they seemed to wear out every few months. Once, just once, she would have liked to go on a vacation where they weren't sleeping on some relatives pull-out sofa.
        At least Charlie never complained when he had to watch the kids on the Saturdays she worked. Delia had tried to make it up to him, cooking nice dinners on Sunday, shooing him off to play darts with the guys down at The Pub on Thursdays. She'd even scrimped and saved to get him that leather case filled with four sets of the best hammerhead darts and all the extras she bought him for Father's Day a few years ago so he would know how much she appreciated him.
        Charlie had just smiled his tired little smile, kissed her on the cheek and said, “Thanks, Dee.” He never even called her “Doll” anymore. That had been his pet name for her from the first day they met. Delia held onto her tears and smiled back, but she would always remember that as the moment she had given up on her marriage.




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