She Believed Him

She could see him standing in the doorway, paused. Struggling to keep quiet, the tears escaped, she couldn’t even contain them anymore. Hugging her pillow, she felt the wave of emotion, trying to make sense of it. She knew she needed him, more than ever. With everything, all of her being. And she needed him to know, for there to be no question.

Hunched over her pillow cradled in her arms, she sat with her legs crossed, her back against the headboard, watching him with blurry eyes. Needing him, but worried she might need him too much. That her need might push him away, that it might be more than he ever bargained for.

“M, I’m sorry,” she said, those words coming easily, now. “It’s me I doubt, not you.”

She’d finally let him see all the parts she’d hidden so well for all those years. The parts she knew had pushed others away, or caused her to push others away. The murky, dark parts, the irrational, broken-feeling pieces.

“You are my life. My love. I’m not going anywhere. You could NEVER truly disappoint me. Ever,” he said as he sat down next to her on the bed, looking into her watery, green eyes. She saw the love and acceptance in his eyes. She felt his arms wrap around her, one hand tucking her cheek against his chest, his chin resting on her head.

As he sat there holding her, his embrace reminded her he’s all in. Hell, his behavior over the past decade had proven he’s the most trustworthy person she’s ever known. He was worth the risk. They were worth it.

Now, the tears really flowed. For the first time in her life, she felt safe and whole.

She believed him.

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 whiskers and cheek locking into her own. “Good morning, beautiful,” he says, optimistic. She hears the sigh before she feels it, knowing 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.