“I’m itchy,” she says, breathless, panicky. I’m swimming out of the depths of full sleep, I’m not totally sure what she’s saying. We were up late, watching Monty Python tapes and laughing, newlyweds. The urgency in her voice brings me out of it.
“OK.” When your bride, pregnant and uncomfortable, says she’s itchy, you hop to it. Feet on the floor. Wallet, keys. Billy Joel tape. Shoes. Shirt.
No, wait. Pants. Then shoes. Jacket. OK, showtime.
Slate gray skies, with fat New England snowflakes blanketing everything. An angry, not-messing-around snowfall. Accumulation already on sidewalks and streets.
Out to the car. Scraping snow and ice. Tape playing, heater running. “Running On Ice”. Apropos.
Car is ready. Roads slick, but empty in eerie morning quiet. Drive with increasing anxiety as I grow more alert. What could it be?
Round corner, into drugstore parking lot. Accelerate in, fearing the long drive back to her already. Car jumps the curb, smacking into brick outside store, denting fender and chipping brick. Reverse, pull car back into position. Walk in, purchase pile of itch products, heedless of need.
Back home. Roads greasy with slush. Taking corners more carefully now, but still accelerating. Instincts taking over-woman in danger, man must fix.
Park car, storm into apartment. She is in bed- deep, restful breathing. I jostle her.
“Hi,” she murmurs.
“What about the itching?”
“Oh, it stopped.”