Song: “All I Want” by Toad the Wet Sprocket from Fear
(Picture taken from http://inlandseaofsound.com/backyard-concerts/twilight-backyards/)
She paused at the sliding door, screwing up her courage. She knew she had to tell him, that it was silly not to. This would affect him too. And yes, he’d worry. But she was worried too, maybe it would help to share that with someone. And, even if it didn’t, it was what she had to do.
The door stuck, as usual, as she slid it open. No matter how much they fiddled with it, they still couldn’t seem to find what made the slider so uncooperative. This little hiccup, entirely expected and banal, nearly sent her scurrying back, out to her car, to somewhere else. Anywhere else. A place where she didn’t have to talk about it, didn’t have to reveal the news. A place where she could be herself but with no past or future to review, discuss, plan around.
She swallowed instead, rubbing her hands up and down her jeans to sop up the clammy sweat. A second pull and the door coasted the rest of the way open, as if there had never been a problem at all. She spent a moment considering smashing it to a billion tiny shards before she returned to the matter before her.
He was reclined in the lounger, staring upwards, a glass in his hand. From the glow of the kitschy Christmas lights they kept up year round, she could see the sweat on the glass, tell that he’d been nursing it and just…being. This had been his ritual since they moved out here. He bemoaned the lack of “real” weather but every night, there he was, drink in hand—sometimes beer, sometimes whiskey and ginger ale, sometimes water—staring up at the sky and just decompressing.
She hated to interrupt this moment, hated to derail his time. Rooted partially in shadow on the broken shale tile, she wondered if she just waited til he came back inside if she’d still have the nerve. Then, he glanced over and saw her.
“Hey you, don’t just hide there. Come over here and warm me up,” he beckoned, his very toothy smile bright.
She padded over without objection and burrowed into him. He smelt of heat and sun and soap and ginger ale. He smelt of their lives here and it was enough that she almost burst into tears, comforting and terrifying all at once. She stifled it and pushed deeper into him, willing herself to memorize the details.
They lay in silence, his chest rising and falling in unhurried rhythm, her heart a broken metronome with a stuttering beat. She ran her hand under his shirt, over his chest and rested it where she knew by heart sat the scar from that bike accident that happened the year before they met. He idly played with her hair and she wondered if he’d still want to do that after tonight.
She croaked, “I need to talk to you.”
She felt him shift and start to sit up, going into concerned mode.
“Not yet,” she almost begged, “After. Just…just don’t let me not, ok? But right now, just…stay. Let’s just stay.”
He didn’t say anything, just let his body sink back again. While he had no idea what she wanted to talk about, she could tell he understood. And the understanding would be enough.
But in the moment, she took her own request to heart, shut her eyes, and breathed his in. She just stayed. For as long as she could.