Five year old Chelsea was in the bathroom watching me in the mirror. My razor slipped a little. I should've been used to her off the wall questions, but she got me again. Previously she stumped me with such stunners as do squirrels eat pretzels and do raccoons have bad breath. I let out a sigh and started to answer, but Chelsea's mom darted in the bathroom door frame.
"Don't you dare tell the story!"
Heidi shot me a look in the mirror. She tried to look stern, but I saw her grin.
"Oh honey, it's a classic."
"Well for you Heidi, but it sure does answer the why I'm bald question."
Chelsea swiveled her head back and forth, watching us volley back and forth. Chelsea grabbed her mom's fat brush and pretended it was a microphone for her little bathroom interview.
"Daddy? You have a story to tell about why your head shines?"
Heidi waved us off and spun around, knowing a lost cause when she saw one.
I picked Chelsea up and placed her on the sink as I finished shaving and brushing my teeth.
"Well sweet pea, Uncle Jake was having a picnic at his house and Grandpa and Grandma Herrick were there with your aunt and uncles. They knew mom for years but this was the first time she was coming to a Herrick event as my girlfriend. I'm not sure why, but she was nervous. In fact"
As I continued to spin my tale, my mind transported to that summer day. I wasn't telling Chelsea the story as much as I was reliving the moment I knew I loved Heidi. I recalled my hand poised on her front door. She threw open the door and handed me a note. I gave a quizzical look and started talking.
"Hey honey, a note? Okay, I'll playit says that laryngitis and you can't go. Why not? So you don't talk. Everyone's so excited to have us come they aren't going to care. I promise Heidi I'll take care of you. Say you'll come, please?"
She tried to say yes but she couldn't even eek out a squeak. Looking in her sad blue eyes, I was determined to make her well. I gave her my windbreaker so she wouldn't catch a chill. If I served her one ice water with lemon, I gave her six. My siblings were desperate to hear Heidi's version about how we transitioned from their friend I barely knew to her boyfriend. She smiled and shrugged.
"Guys, give her a break. By the end of the day she's going to have a miracle cure. "
I couldn't help during the picnic but gaze at her. Her auburn curls danced against the late afternoon sun. She was gracious when my nephews pelted her with ambush water balloons, just pointing fingers at them. No matter what she tried to say that afternoon, I knew I was in love with her. Her laryngitis made her vulnerable and fragile, and I wanted nothing more than to take care of her the rest of my life.
After the picnic I insisted on stopping at an ice cream stand. She shook her head no, making gestures that she was full.
"I think a milkshake will be just what the doctor ordered. I'll take you back to your parent's house and we can watch a movie on the couch. Lemme take care of you Heidi."
She didn't refuse the shake when I handed it to her. By the time we reached her house, I noticed the drink was gone. She nestled on my chest as we got comfy on the couch. The silence was glorious as I enjoyed Heidi so close to me. Before the opening credits to the movie could begin, Heidi let out a meaty belch that sounded like a bullhorn, and reeked like chocolate shake and cheeseburger. The sheer force of the burp was so intense it blew the hair right off my head.
Heidi turned tomato red and started speaking at the same time.
"I am so sorry!"
Embarrassed tears trickled down her face. I was laughing so hard I fell off the couch, bringing Heidi down with me.
"Heidi it's okay, really. It's the miracle cure; you got your voice back!"
Her tears continued as she voiced,
"I got my miracle cure and now you need Miracle Grow!"
Julie Arduini, http://thesurrenderedscribe.blogspot.com/, is devoted to writing for Christ in ways that encourage and inspire. A graduate of the Christian Writer's Guild, her writing resume is on her blog's sidebar. Happily married to Tom, they have two children.