I Know Her

She stood there, quietly and quickly assembling the sandwich, squaring the meat and cheese and bread, just so. It goes into the Baggie with a pinch and a zip. Her thoughts are busied with arranging today’s list of things to do: call the school, revise the contract, do some laundry, and on and on. Behind her, as is true of most mornings, she hears his footsteps on the hard floor, slow and uneven, tentative from sleep. As he comes closer, she feels the muscles in her body tense. She knows why, but she doesn’t want to know why. Already, she is telling herself, “Let him in, let him in. Today.” Still, she tenses, closes her eyes, her body deceiving her, as usual. His arms close around her, sliding in under her own arms and around her waist, his chin resting on her shoulder, his cheek locking into her own as his whiskers scratch her sensitive skin. “Good morning, beautiful,” he says, optimistic. She hears the sigh before she feels it, realizing it just escaped her own lips, wishing it had not. She wills her body to relax, but it does not, she is busy after all. There are so many things to do, doesn’t he know that? As soon as the last inch of air releases her lungs, that telling sigh, she feels it. The courage, the risk, the hope, slowly letting go, his fingers not so tight, his arms not so strong, his head a bit heavier on her shoulder. Again.

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