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There is a sense in which we are all each other's consequences.


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Soleil Whitaker

March. March. March.

“Anniversary,” Soleil mutters, sliding a pancake onto Wilson’s plate, “Knew this was a big month.” The toddler lifts his sippy cup, silently asking for more apple juice, and Soleil obliges. She presses a firm kiss to Wilson’s hair before moving around the kitchen island to sort through the mail.

“Did you know that your Mama and I have been married for 1 whole year, baby?” she muses out loud, not at all expecting a response from her son. He seems too preoccupied by the stickiness of syrup between his fingers to comprehend what Soleil is saying. She chuckles at his expression of utter confusion.

“I’m the luckiest woman in the world.”

Soleil grins at the sound of the angel’s voice. Rhiannon strides in, wearing Soleil’s favorite blue-striped buttondown. The younger Whitaker bites her lip. Damn, this woman is fine.

“Not true at all, Rhiannon. You know…

Further protest is silenced with a kiss, which elicits a satisfied hum from the younger woman. Just the kind of response Rhiannon is looking for.

“Big day at the office?”

“I’m wearing my lucky shirt.”

“That’s my shirt.”


Rhiannon flashes a grin before stealing a bite of Wilson’s pancake. He protests, growing louder as the angel ruffles his hair. “See you tonight?”

“Of course.”

“I love you.”

The rev of the Mustang’s engine fades into the distance, and Soleil is left with the sound of Wilson’s chewing and intermittent babbling. After breakfast, she tends to Logan, leaving the toddler in front of the television with his sippy cup and a box of Legos.  He’s become surprisingly self-sufficient in a short span of time, which has relieved Soleil of a few maternal duties. Some days are, no doubt, more difficult than others, depending on how the boys are feeling. But, the younger Whitaker has found ways to appease them, fully embracing her role as a mother and a caretaker.

And as a wife.

Would you mind watching the boys for a few hours?
Know this is short notice. Sorry.

The sitter arrives promptly, and is surprisingly grateful for the opportunity.

“My roommate is being a you know, female dog,” she explains, cupping her hands over Wilson’s ears. Soleil arches a brow, and wonders how Delaney could ever prefer 2 (sometimes fussy) children over another likeminded 23-year old graduate student.

“Upcoming exam. She almost ripped my head off last night because I cooked linguine instead of spaghetti.”

“Well, glad I could provide some peace and quiet, if you can call it that,” Soleil replies, snorting at Delaney’s last remark, “I’ll be back in a bit.”

The errands don’t take too long; Soleil had set out with a list, and a game plan in mind. Flowers, a tub of mint chocolate chip ice cream, 2 slices of cheesecake from Eileen’s in Lower Manhattan, and a call to Becco for a special carryout order.

Rhiannon would come home to her favorite dish, plated and set as if it had been served on W. 46th Street. The hypnotic rhythm of Russ’ Cherry Hill fills the air above them. A vase of daffodils, which had proved to be almost impossible to find, displayed prominently in the middle of the table. She knows the pieces don’t quite fit together – the music, the flowers, the fancy Italian food. It almost seems fake, insincere, or worst of all, disorganized and desperate.

“I know it seems like a mess. But, I wanted to put together all of your favorite things,” she rambles quickly, leading Rhiannon to the dinner table, “Like, the flowers, and the food. There’s mint chocolate chip ice cream in the freezer, and cheesecake in the fridge. And Cherry Hill is the song we listened to the first morning we spent together. I just wanted to, you know, make you happy.”

A smile takes command of Rhiannon’s lips as she throws her arms around Soleil’s shoulders. “You make me so happy,” she responds, peppering the younger woman with soft kisses, “Even without these things.”

“I know, but I…”


Despite Rhiannon’s constant reassurance, Soleil has always been slightly insecure about her place in the marriage; the small, nagging voice in the back of her skull could be cruel, at times. She had never mastered the art of grand gestures, or been known to be particularly romantic. But, Soleil Whitaker would, without a doubt, crawl to the ends of the Earth only to prove her love. She hopes that good food would suffice, however. If only for tonight.

“Happy anniversary month, baby,” she whispers with a sheepish grin.

“Happy anniversary, Mrs. Whitaker.”

March 11, 2018 08:57 pm
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