There she is.
She isn’t lounging in the tableau that you love – late morning summer, bedroom window, leaded glass, sun shining in like golden oil on her shoulders, waves of sweet exfoliation touching straps that keep her tank top just in place. On those shoulders. Warm and freckled, skin on fire with inner glow thanks to you there in the bedroom, Mr. Husband, in your t-shirt, boxer briefs. Goodbye tank top. Hello, Sunday. Make. Me. Coffee.
That is not the way it looks in January. It looks dark. It looks dirty. Big dust hairballs on the floor, crunchy ladybugs from autumn still a crust inside the window where the leaded glass is frosted and the light comes through just barely, rather chilly, rather gray.
Nothing gold. Nothing with powers to warm your wife who’s like a grub rolled up in bed, rolled in layers upon layers of chenille, fleece and flannel. Maybe tank top in there somewhere? Maybe skin? But way down where you can’t quite see. For sure can’t touch. Because it’s cold. And if you cannot make it warmer then you’ll have to put on hold your thoughts of marriage interactions, sweet late morning satisfactions. Goodbye, urges. Hello, bathrobe.
But! There’s hope.
There is something, Mr. Husband, you can use to reach the woman deep inside that insulation. Just lean over the cocoon of her, and on that bedside table past the tissues, past the bottles, past the book club books and vaporizer – careful not to fall on her – keep reaching till your fingers feel the cool, slick plastic ridges of the jar that has the power to grant your wishes. It’s the substance that has magic like medicinal Absinthe but it’s quite legal, it’s quite easy. It’s quite aquablue and greasy. The key to what you need, to white-hot January love. It’s the one thing she wants more than heat. It’s Vicks sweet VapoRub ®.
Ask her, please, if you could reach beneath the blankets and the sheets, and slide her woolen socks off gently and just moisturize her feet. With Vicks ®, which, you might know, is noted to have properties that soothe the worst bronchitis when applied to the bottoms of the feet. It’s the oddest, truest thing, and that small bit of conversation is a very good distraction from the fact that you’ve now lifted up the blankets and your hands are on her skin. Granted, ankles – but you’re there.
You just keep rubbing. Warm it up first, make sure nothing touches her that’s not as nice and hot as summer on her soles, her heels, her soft unshaven calves. Keep it warm. Keep it moving. Keep it smooth, Mr. Husband, and the next thing you both know she’s taking big deep drags of bedroom air. That chest that’s in there somewhere, under blankets? It is rising. It is falling. And her neck? It might be arching just enough that you can see a slice of flesh like winter moonrise cresting over threadbare flannel. It’s her throat! It is – yes! It is something close to chest.
Close enough. You seize this moment. Keep one hand down at the bottom, keep it moving, keep her happy, keep your balance, reach your other hand around to find that Vicks ®, and then, just lightly, really slow and very slightly, bring that pearl of eucalyptus close to where she can inhale it – as a service, as a kindness, you are Mr. Winter Selfless, taking care of feet and sinuses – and watch. Next thing you know, sure as your unshoveled snow, she will rise. She will peel the fleece and flannel and chenille. She’ll sit upright, or just enough that you can access things you haven’t seen in weeks.
Do not pause to take it in. You do not risk air on her skin. You fast unbutton. Make a tent out of the covers. If the grease that’s on your fingers makes that clumsy? Tear the flannel. An advantage of it being old and ugly Is that no one’s going to argue hours later when a shirt is found in tatters on the floor. Hours later when you’re both quite newly warm.
Hours, or minutes. Doesn’t matter. You have turned it into summer In the bedroom, and there’s nothing out those windows that can touch the way it feels inside this minty cloud of sweetness, this hot seal of eucalyptus that adheres you to the woman who is worth all that and more.
She is close. She is yours. She is flannel on the floor.
She is warm. She is happy.
She is eucalyptusexy.
EUCALYPTUSEXY is now a micro motion picture by Jacob Strunk with music by Paris Zax and gorgeousness by Lindsey Vaerst. A warm and emotive gorgeousness that mocks Minnesota winters in a most brazen way. Ah, Hollywood.
Originally performed as part of Mankato Mosaic’s 2012 Brrrlesque show, featuring the quilt-wearing, sock-twirling, lovely Launa Helder.
This post not (yet) endorsed by Vicks VapoRub ®.