Car Talk. “Let’s make a list of happiness,” I say.
We were somewhere south on I-25, far enough south that we could see the end of the Rockies. It just came to an end, like the tail end of a pig. “You go first. What makes you happy?”
“The possibilities.”
“Oh, good one. Strong start. Vague, but strong.” I write it down.
Then I say, “You do. You make me happy.”
“Well, that’s good news,” he says. “Gum.”
“Cracker Barrel’s french toast.”
“Coffee.”
“Cookbooks.”
“Not having a headache.”
“You’ve been getting them a lot. How is it right now?”
“I could use some aspirin.” I love that aspirin is his word for anything pain relieving. I reached into the center console to get him four ibuprofen while he’s driving. As a bonus, I give him a piece of gum from in there, too.
“Thanks, baby girl,” he says. “Your turn.”
“Pens. And conversation. I’d stay up all night for a good one.”
“Sunshine.”
“A great playlist.”
“Oh, yes. Great music makes me very happy. Turns my day around.”
“A whole day stretching before me. With books and pens.”
“Good traffic,” he says, flipping on his blinker and changing lanes. “Smart drivers.”
“Candles. Fall scented.”
“The smell of leather in a baseball mitt.”
“Jammies.”
“Freshly cut grass.”
“Scarves. A pashmina.”
“The hell’s a pashmina?”
“It’s a big scarf.”
“Oh. I thought it was a new friend of yours. Puppies. Puppies make me happy.”
“Silence.”
“Helping my wife.”
“Really? That’s so nice you would say that.”
“It’s true. Being of service.”
“Diet Coke.”
“Tickets to the theatre.”
“Orgasms.”
“Hey, now. Woah.”
“I’m just saying.”
“Dancing in the kitchen.”
“Tucker. Tyler.”
“A road trip.”
“Punctuation.”
“Any punctuation?”
“Proper punctuation.”
“I thought so. I know how you feel about a comma where a period should be. Or excessive exclamation marks. All that yelling on the page.”
“I actually had a visceral response to that just now.”
“A good fight. Righteous confrontation. Put an exclamation point after that one.”
“Colors. And a clean house.”
“Burt Bacharach.”
“Country music. Metaphors. Similes.”
“Someone who gets me.”

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