Budu arose early the next morning. He planned to visit Bette’s pastor. Anxiety gave way to personal resolve, as he showered, dressed and crept downstairs to make Bette some tea. Budu retrieved the croissants he bought a day earlier from their hiding place in the fridge. He pulled out the butter, some jam and marmalade onto the table. He wanted to surprise her. In the garden he found fresh roses and placed a few in a short vase, then dashed into the pantry to hunt for honey. Smiling, Budu set napkins and her favourite crockery and cutlery on their little breakfast table. He smoothed the tablecloth and straightened the settings, as she had done for years, as he sat and watched her. Time to make amends and he chuckled to himself. A second chance was more than he deserved and since God accepted him, forgave him and set about re-configuring his character, Budu shared his gratitude with his dear wife.
The kettle whistled and he turned to pour the contents into a flask. Bette heard the kettle and stirred, her hand searching in the darkened room for her husband. She sat up and swung her legs over the side of their bed, curious about what got him up so early. She showered, changed and fussed with her face and hair, before going downstairs. She found him sitting at the breakfast table, with a fresh cup of tea. Budu rose out of his chair, embraced her and sat together, both smiling and Bette’s eyes twinkling at the surprise. “Flowers too! What time did you have to get up?” He laughed it off and kissed her cheek, enjoying the warmth of her face. “You didn’t have to, you know…” and he cut her off with, “When was the last time I spoiled you? That is without leaving the house?” Her eyes welled, forcing her to whisper a meek, ‘thank you! Really! Thank you my love.”
Budu set about warming the croissants and insisted on pouring her tea. Bette smelt the roses, to hide her mild discomfort. She came from a generation of women, born and expected to wait on and dote over their husbands. She had to deal with the modern side of her husband, with his cosmopolitan habits, something he left at their front door every night, until the recent past. Bette sipped her tea and received the warm croissant with relief. Those days were behind her, as was the mean mistress. The butter melted into her croissant and Bette bit into it, lavishing on the taste. The tea soothed and calmed her.
Budu reached out to her, smoothing her hair away from her cheek. He knew the bad memories would risk their happiness, so he kissed her fears away. Breakfast nearly turned cold but neither of them noticed. The assurance that the past would stay in the past was more than enough. Bette smiled as he joked about their first date. She lost herself in the new way they spoke to one another. He noticed everything and cared for her on a level she had only dreamed about. They ate some more and laughed over and over. The calm joy in their relationship settling in once more.