“Please, Catherine, isn’t that enough? May I stop?”
The steady squeaking of the bedsprings continued unabated.
“No, Vincent!” Catherine hissed. “Please! Not yet!
Almost! So close…. Oh, please, don’t stop now!”
Vincent redoubled his efforts, a fine sheen of sweat
breaking on his temples.
Many more minutes of rhythmic squeaking echoed off
the rough-hewn walls of the chamber.
“Oh, Vincent, yes,” Catherine sighed contentedly.
“That’s it! That’s so good. Mmmmm. Yessssss!”
The squeaking tapered off until silence reigned.
He fell into his place in bed at last, spent.
“Finally,” he commented to himself, but not so softly that Catherine
couldn’t hear him.
Catherine turned her sublimely satisfied face his
direction. She rolled to her stomach and with a flick of her head, fanned her
honey-brown hair across her pillow before resting her cheek on the backs of her
“And to think, Vincent, there was a time when you
swore that you would never tire of that! You told me that you’d waited to do it
for such a long time that you could never, ever get enough of it. Remember?”
“Now please, Catherine, be fair! It is not as
if I resent it. Truly. It’s merely that, after all these months, it has,” he
struggled for the right words, “it has - occasionally!
- begun to be… something of a minor chore. Especially when we must do it
multiple times a day, and for such an extended period each time…”
“I do feel bad that we’ve begun to bother Father and
the others sometimes, especially when…”
A high-pitched keening wail erupted from the cradle
beside their bed.
“Oh, no!” Catherine despaired, burying her face into
Vincent groaned resignedly. “It seems he wasn’t
really quite asleep after all!” He began to sit back up again.
“No, I’ll do that, Vincent,” Catherine said as she
pushed her husband back down and crawled over him to the edge of the bed.
She sat there with one foot planted on the curved
runner of the cradle and began bouncing up and down on the bed so that the cradle
rocked in perfect synchronization with the squeak of their bedsprings. This was
the one and only thing they’d found that soothed their six month old son into
sleep. “After all, fair is fair, and this time it’s my turn to do the Squeaky.”