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“You haven’t heard a word I’ve said. Not one.” He sighed deeply, completely exasperated and exhausted.

“Yes, I have. I understand what you’re saying. I do,” she responded. “I told you — I agree with you. We’ve gotten into a rut. A lot of couples go through this after they have kids. We just need to work harder at being a couple — the way we used to be.”

She ran her fingers through his hair as she spoke. He did not reciprocate, sitting perfectly still, his expression a mixed of astonishment and bewilderment.

“We just need to try harder to carve out time for ourselves,” she continued as she tried to wrap her leg around his under the small square table at which they were seated in the window of the Barnes and Noble store.

“Why do you think I asked you to meet me here?” he asked quietly.

“So that we could get out of the house by ourselves for a while, of course,” she replied. “I think it was a great idea, too,” she gushed as she sipped her latte. “It’s nice to be here without the kids for a little while, sitting on the grown-up chairs and not having to read to someone else. We’re not in a hurry, right? You got Andrea to babysit for the whole evening, didn’t you? Because I would really like to pick up the new selection for Oprah’s book club. Margie says she has already read it and it’s wonderful. And then I was hoping we could have dinner and maybe later . . . ” her voice trailed off as she reached for his hand, but he pulled away, pretending to search for something in the pocket of his jacket.


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