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(in the History of the World)

Happiest Marriage

From the

Tracy, the narrator of HAPPIEST MARRIAGE IN THE WORLD, asks her husband Jesse what he’d do if he lost her. EXCERPT. (Happiest Marriage is available on Amazon).

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“If I die, how long before you remarry?”

He mused over his coffee. “Hmmm. Depends.”

“On what?”

“Was your departure sudden? Did I have warning? Have I mourned a socially acceptable amount of time? What will the neighbors think if I date?”

“They resent your new woman because she’s . . . well, she’s not me.”

“You’d want me to follow my heart, though, wouldn’t you?” He put down his coffee so he could lean back on the headboard and wrap both palms around the back of his neck, elbows out, eyes closed.

“You shouldn’t be enjoying this. Remember. I’m gone. And this new woman is relentlessly pursuing you.” I nudged his calf with my foot. “Really. What would you do?”

“Do I like her, or am I just lusting after her square footage—she does have a house, doesn’t she? And how about chestnut eyes? Does she have those? I like chestnut eyes.”

I smiled and fluttered my eyelashes over my chestnut eyes. “No. Sadly, she has blue eyes. Blond hair. She used to be a model, but now she runs a pet rescue and a soup kitchen for blind nuns.”

“Do you happen to have her number? She sounds intriguing.”

“Ah ha. I made her up. But she sounded good? So I might be a good matchmaker?”

 “You’re welcome to set me up anytime,” he said. “But aren’t you supposed to be dead in my dating scenario? I wouldn’t feel right dating if you were still alive.”

“You’re so funny; you kill me. Let’s say you do that literally. I’m no longer holding you back.”

“But I’m not in danger of arrest?”

“No. You were careful. Looked like an accident.”

“Okay then. How old are the kids? Do they like this new woman of mine?”

“The kids are standoffish with her. They miss me, which you should be doing as well,” I said, nudging him with my foot. “But seriously. How long before you pry this ring off my cold, dead hand and . . . ?”

“Suppose I say never,” he said, kissing my ring finger—with the ring attached for once. “The ring will probably be on the kitchen counter instead of your hand, anyway, so no prying required. But if I did happen to catch you actually wearing it, I’d definitely wait until after everyone viewed your body before I go in for the ring. Speaking of viewing your body . . . maybe I should have a preview now.”