Anita Krause looked up from the pie she was filling with apple. She pursed her lips. “Well, farm boy,” she said in her clipped Filipino accent, “what you expect? You a momma’s boy, big-time.”
He moved around the table and wrapped his arms around his wife, planting a kiss solidly behind the shell of her ear. “No, I ain’t,” he said, smiliing against her warm, brown skin, loving the smell and the pulse beneath his lips. “I’m yours.”
This earned him a light jab to his newly discovered ribs. “Go ahead and sweet talk me, farm boy, this pie ain’t for you.”
Crestfallen, Jimmy took a step back. “Dang it all, woman. I worked out today. You know that. Nothing but fish and rice for two months. I need something sweet!”
Anita flashed him a wide, white-toothed smile over her shoulder. “I’m sweet enough for you, buddy,” she said not unkindly. Over the course of the past three months, her farm boy had lost nearly fifty pounds of long held puppy fat. His beer gut and pizza handles had all but disappeared. The moon-faced boy who had met her at the airport in his ball cap and plaid shirt had been utterly transformed by a healthy diet and a strict workout regime. Anita was a tolerant girl. But she would not be wife to a fat man, no way, no how.
She had heard horror stories of other mail order brides getting hitched to American men thirty years their senior, wide as they were tall, with all the charm of junkyard dogs and body hair sprouting from the most unlikely of places – facts which thoroughly explained their need to look abroad for wives. Her people valued their elderly, that was for certain – Jimmy’s age was a non-issue. But witnessing poverty on the mean streets of Manila had embittered Anita to the grossness of obesity and the rampant excess it implied.
Jimmy ran a hand down his newly acquired abs. Not exactly washboard material yet – Rome, after all, was not built in a day – but he was on his way. And while he complained occasionally about the lack of red meat and wheat in his diet, – and what wheat farmer did not eat wheat? – he could hardly question the results of Anita’s diet and excersise plan.
“You are sweet enough,” he agreed. Still, eyeing the shortcrust pastry and apples laid in tidy rows sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar, he had to ask. “But, who is this for?”
Anita unfolded and trimmed the top crust and then set to crimping the edges. Her long-held fascination with American cooking was paying off.
Not that he was ever allowed to eat any of it.
“I tol’ you a hundred times already. This pie for the old people.”
Jimmy rolled his eyes and groaned. Yes. The old people. Otherwise known residents of the Nursing home, where she worked as an aide until official approval for her to practice nursing was given. When his wife had insisted on seeking a job as a candy striper at the Oak Grove Care Home, he had initially been pleased. What red blooded Kansas boy would not relish the thought of a beautiful woman dressed as a candy striper?
Somehow, the reality of Anita’s work attire – pink scrubs and white sneakers – did not quite gel with his playboy fantasy. Candy stripers, as it turned out, wore the unsexiest work clothes ever. Jimmy chalked it up to yet another male fantasy burnt to ashes with the arrival of Anita.
“I’m old,” he said, resuming his position behind her and sliding his hand along the slight curve of her rear, “old enough, anyway.”
Anita chuckled and turned her head to kiss him. “You are, farm boy, plenty old. Here,” she turned to face him and dropped a sugar laden finger into his mouth, “that enough sweet for you, buddy?”
Jimmy smiled and leaned into his wife. “Not QUITE,” he grinned, but then the ice bucket fell. “Ho, crap,” he said, bowing his head and pressing his brow to Anita’s. “She’s on her way home, you know.”
Anita reached behind and pushed the pie to safety. “Ok,” she said, sliding her rear up onto the floury table and pulling her husband closer. “Then we gotta make some plans, you think?”
Jimmy pulled his wife close and nuzzled the curve of her shoulder. “I guess we better,” he said.
Half of him would like to wring the neck of whoever had described a Filipino wife as submissive.
The other half wanted to shake his hand.
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