A pair of dirty socks.
As you hold them in your hands a wave of irritation goes through you. You ask yourself why it?s so hard for a grown man to remember to pick his socks up after himself. This is hardly an extraordinary request. It?s not like you?ve asked him to jump into a garbage compactor or to spend nine months frozen in carbonite. It?s just a simple request to pick up those socks.
And you?d think that after four months of marriage the message might finally sink in. It?s infuriating. You go from irritation to resentment and soon it?s roiling anger. It makes you think of that other annoying habit he has with not putting down the lid on the refresher bowl, but you try not to go there, because that?s a can of banthas that you really don?t want to open. You could go on about that for days.
Instead, you go back to the socks. And you think to yourself, can a man who treats a simple request like picking up a pair of socks with such disdain and disregard truly love you?
As you think this, still boiling with anger, you tell yourself to calm down. This man saved you from the Death Star, and risked his life to get you out of Echo Base. This man cared enough to kidnap you to prevent you from making the worst mistake of your life and marrying for political reasons. This man?
?this man can?t pick up his own damn socks!
And then you tell yourself to calm down again. Your rational self knows that this behavior?this entire line of thinking?is ridiculous. You tell yourself that this has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that you?re eleven days late?when you?re never late. You put your hands on your belly. It?s flat. You feel nothing there. This disquiet you?re feeling is all absurd; there?s nothing there.
You look at the holocalendar and you count the days. Then you recount the days.
You look down at the socks in your hand again and the anger rushes back. How hard can it be for that man to just put his socks into the laundry hamper?
Just then, you hear the door open downstairs.
You set your mouth in a grim line and head down the stairs with the grimy incriminating evidence in your hands. You?re prepared to really rip into him. Him and his socks. You reach the bottom of the steps and see your husband, who?s just taken off his jacket and has turned to you with a smile.
You try to push away the sudden, traitorous thoughts that he?s so handsome?so impossibly, charmingly, devastatingly handsome. You try not to look at his hands and think what those hands did to you last night. You tell yourself that you have a score to settle and now is not the time to be weak.
He notices that your greeting has been less than enthusiastic, and he says, ?What?s the matter??
He comes toward you and you tense yourself, ready to give him the rough side of your tongue.
Then suddenly, to your horror and bewilderment, you find yourself crying. The tears spill down your face and you?re powerless to stop them. One and then another and then another, and before you know what?s going on he?s crossed the room and pulled you into his arms.
?What is it?? he asks, concerned and a little alarmed.
When you look up into his eyes?his hazel eyes (and you could forget even your own name when you look in those eyes)?you get ready to start in on those socks, but instead, you blurt out the words you hadn?t meant to say.
?I think I?m pregnant.?
His reaction cuts into your confusion. You see the emotions chase themselves across his handsome features: surprise, then awe, then joy, and finally confusion. You know he?s wondering why you?re crying, but now you find it impossible to articulate these thoughts and fears that have been going through your mind all day.
?You think? But you?re not sure??
?I don?t know if I want to be sure!? You realize to your chagrin that your voice is louder than you meant it to be; and all the while those embarrassing tears continue to defy your will.
?What?s the matter?? he asks. ?Don?t you???
He stops and you know that he?s afraid you?re crying because you don?t want to be pregnant. He?s afraid that you don?t want his baby. You?ve told him your fears and your concerns; you?ve made it clear to him every time he?s brought up the topic that you can?t banish the image of that hulking specter that you know is your own father, and who represents to you everything evil. You fear that such Darkness could transcend the generations and curse that speck that you (might) carry within your womb. You can?t take the chance?can?t risk unleashing another Vader on the galaxy.
But now as you hold his gaze and think of that speck (baby), you suddenly start thinking that your fears may be irrational. You remember that not even your brother who fought Vader and lost his hand shares your fears. You start to imagine that speck (baby) that might be in your womb, and now you feel a wave of longing that surprises you and takes your breath away.
You want this baby. You want his baby. You want the child the two of you have created.
You wipe the tears away. Silly tears. You smile a little, hiccup, and you say, ?I guess I was a little frightened.?
Then he gives you a smile so tender, so loving, so dazzling, that you think that if you didn?t already love this man, you?d fall in love now. You feel almost dizzy. And before you can think more about this, he?s tilting his head forward and he?s kissing you.
And Han Solo?s kisses are no trivial matter. When he kisses you, he means it, and there?s no question in your mind that he knows what he?s doing. His lips?those sensual lips come down on yours?softly. So softly. Tenderly. Gently. Teasing, almost tickling. And you start to shiver. Then he puts his hands on your shoulders but they don?t stay there. They come up along your neck and cup the sides of your face, and he tilts your held up toward his as he deepens the kiss. Now you feel your breath come raggedly, feel a little lightheaded, feel your heart pounding almost painfully in your chest as you lean into him, almost melting into him. You feel the heat of his breath on your neck as his lips move along the curve of your cheek toward that sensitive little hollow of your neck. Every nerve ending in your body seems to be tingling in response. And then his lips return to yours, and his tongue enters almost playfully. You moan because you can?t help yourself. You know that you?re nothing but terraclay in this man?s hands. You know that if he decides to lead you up the stairs and take you to bed and make love to you?
?and as you think about his lovemaking you tremble a little because he has only to touch you to make you feel as though your whole body is on fire.
But then he breaks off the kiss and you feel a small surge of disappointment even as you try to catch your breath. You wanted it to go on and on.
He says, ?Why don?t we go out and get a test kit to find out for sure??
You hesitate, the last traces of fear still lingering in your system. Do you really want to know? Are you ready to face up to this now?
He sees the hesitation, and his eyes are tender. ?Don?t be frightened. I?ll be with you every step of the way. I love you, and we?ll do this together.?
Now, looking into his eyes you know. You know. You know that you can trust him. You know that this (possible) pregnancy will be the best thing that ever happened to you. And you know you love him more than ever at this moment.
Then he smiles and says, ?Let?s go, sweetheart.?
And you smile back because his happiness is infectious. He?s managed to make you forget your fears, to comfort you. To give you some perspective.
You follow him to the doorway of the apartment and just before you leave, you realize that you?re holding something in your hands. You look down and see a crumpled pair of socks. And you wonder for a moment what you?re doing with them in your hands. You shake your head and casually pass them off to Threepio as you walk past the droid on your way out the door.
Because after all, they?re just a pair of dirty socks.
Original cover by LadyPadme. HTML formatting copyright 2004 TheForce.Net LLC.