"Honey, I'm home!" I call as I walk through the door. It feels cooler in the house than it does outside, and for that I am thankful. Autumn heat seems deadly to me.
Almost immediately after I take a breath of the nice air, I hear two giggling voices coming towards me, shouting, "Daddy! Daddy!" They run up to me and hug my legs.
"Hey, kids!" I say, laughing and picking up Lilith, the girl. She's the happy one that almost always has a smile on her face. I ruffle Asa's hair; He's also a happy one, but he can get upset easier. My wife walks in the room, grinning and picking up Asa. She plants a kiss on my lips.
"How was work?" she asks.
"It was a good day," I reply, setting down Lilith. "I got one annoying customer at my register, but I think I handled it pretty well. Did you do anything with the kids today?"
"We went to the park this morning and saw a lady with the cutest little puppies."
I laugh and shake my head. "I think a rabbit is all we can handle right now, Maria."
"I know." She laughs as well. She goes into the kitchen to start dinner, leaving me to play with the kids for a bit. They run around everywhere, throwing around toys and squealing with excitement. For a minute I realize how fast they're growing up, and it makes me sad. Lilith is already six and Asa is four, but it only feels like we've had them for a few months. Time goes by so fast.
"Daddy, lookit my muscles!" Asa says, flexing his arm. It's as skinny as a stick.
"Ah! You could beat me up any day," I say, poking his arm. He roars and jumps on top of my stomach, making me cough. I take the chance to tickle him and he squeals louder than I've ever heard him squeal. Lilith starts a giggle fit, joining in on the attack.
"That's... not fair!" Asa says between squeals.
"Keep it down a little, kids!" Maria calls, and apparently I am one of the kids. I stop tickling Asa so he can get off of me, and then I get up to sit on the couch and turn on the TV with the black remote. It's a CLEON television, one with high definition and sharper colors. It makes me feel spoiled sometimes, especially when we have guests over and they start gawking at it. Lilith and Asa start pestering me to turn it to Disney Channel, but I get them to calm down and I put it on the news.
"I've got Monday and Tuesday off this week." I say, taking off my shirt. Maria is sitting up in bed, absorbed in a book. She looks up and says, "Really? What for?"
"Just taking time off. We can all go to the park and look at puppies." She chuckles and looks back at her book, saying, "I hope you know I wasn't really planning on getting one. Unless you want to."
"Like I said earlier, I think a rabbit is all we can handle. The kids torment that thing enough."
"Akira, you know they're just little and don't know any better."
"I know." I crawl into the bed and pull the covers over me. She closes the book and sets it on the small table by her side of the bed. "Do you remember what tomorrow is?"
"Tomorrow?" she repeats, and I am devastated. How could she forget? She sees the look on my face and bursts into laughter, then hugs me and says, "Of course I remember. It's our anniversary. Can you believe it? Six years already?"
"It went by so fast," I agree. "And we had Lilith the very first year."
She smiles. "Most people I talk to that get married as young as we did usually end up splitting apart. Do you think it was a bad move?"
"Of course not. Look at us. Twenty-six, two kids, a nice home, and happy as ever. Do you think it was a bad move?" I look into her eyes as she shakes her head and says, "It's just that I don't want that to happen to us. I mean, I already feel like I'm getting old."
"You aren't getting old." I laugh at her for being so silly. "A customer kept looking at me today at work, but backed off when she saw the ring on my finger. And do you know how old she was?"
Maria shook her head.
"She looked to only be about sixteen. Now, if a person that young thinks that I look good - and that she even has a chance with me - then you must be the best looking thing on the whole planet." I kiss her intently. She smiles and turns off her lamp, leaving us both in darkness.