Secret Smooch.

My husband wouldn’t kiss me. I puckered up. He turned away.

“You’re sick,” he reminded me.

My fever had passed and my coughing decreased, but my nose was still drippy, my lips cracked, and my hair looked wind-blown though I hadn’t left our home in four days. I was sick of dry toast, Theraflu tea, and my husband cleaning everything I touched with antibacterial wipes.  I didn’t need a reminder that I wasn’t bringing sexy back.

I didn’t need a kiss either. My reliable friends — caffeine and sugar — always make me feel loved, no matter how germy, smelly, or rumpled I might be. I packed up my NYT Book Review, bundled up, and walked in the sunshine to Honey Bakery, my new favorite place.

I thought I was trippy and delusional from the cold medication because it was a custom-made Nancy-in-bliss moment when I entered: a groovy re-make of Blondie’s “Heart of Glass” played, I had my choice of tables, the first cup of freshly brewed coffee would be mine, and the display case and cookie jars were filled. I pointed wordlessly to the plate of puff pastries.

“Apricot?” asked the man behind the counter.

I nodded. It was beautiful: glistening preserves set in a pastry triangle. I brought it to my lips and bit tenderly. The pastry puffed a soft exhale into my mouth. It was delicious, and it felt illicit. Like a kiss.

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