“Seven years today,” Alison said as I entered the room carrying our anniversary cake at arm’s length, my smile revealing my crooked white teeth.
“I can’t believe how time has flown,” I said.
Sarah, our youngest daughter, ran up to her mother, her night gown dragging on the floor behind her, too large for her small frame. She wrapped her arms around her mother tight.
“Are you all ready for bed?” Alison asked.
Sarah nodded into her neck, “Uh huh!”
“I love you, ” she said, kissing her daughter on the forehead, Alison giggled and toddled off to her bedroom.
We sat facing each other in the warmly lit room, gazing into each other’s eyes.
“Seven years,” I beamed, reaching across the table for my sweetheart’s hand, “When I first saw you, I knew I had to have you,” I said squeezing her hand.
Alison blushed and averted her gaze.
My knife slipped into the cake, slicing off two chunks.
“Happy anniversary,” I said slowly sliding a plate over to Alison, the wooden table mumbling under the friction.
We sat in silence, eating, enjoying each other’s company, occasionally smiling, in love.
I finished and put my knife down carefully, trying not to make a sound, “The day you moved in was the happiest day of my life,” I scrunched his brow in thought, “No, the second happiest. The birth of our daughter was definitely number one.”
Alison drew her mouth into a large smile, which slowly morphed into a yawn. Her arms stretched taught over her head.
“I’m feeling a little tired too,” I admitted.
I picked up the used plates and left over cake, stood up and slowly sauntered to the door.
I turned and said, “Goodnight honey-bun.”
“Good night boo-boo-bear,” Alison replied.
Wind howled from above, rattling the doors. We both looked up in unison.
Alison’s face grew scared and her smile fell, “Can you make sure you lock the door tight tonight? I don’t want the monsters to try and come down here again.”
“No problem honey-bun.”
I opened the door with my free hand, the cake and plates balanced on the other. I closed it behind me and picked up the key dangling from my waist by string and locked it.
“Thank you,” I heard Alison say as some warmth returned to her voice.
I trudged up the stairs out of the basement. I unlocked the door at the top of the flight and opened it; brightness from the kitchen flooded in; re-locking it as I left the cellar.
I put the plates in the sink and cake in the fridge. I turned on the tap and waited until the basin was full before scrubbing a plate.
“What were you doing down there, again?” the voice said from behind.
I held a plate and faced my wife, her eyes puffy from crying, “I told you not to ask any FUCKING questions!”
I wound up my arm and threw the dinnerware; it smashed on the wall next to her neck.
Where is my fucking belt.