Sunday, January 22, 2023

Crack the Shutters

She laughs and puts her face in her hands. The light shines on her red hair and lights up my face. She’s changed so much over these past years. She’s carefree and relaxed. She isn’t afraid of speaking out of turn or being a disappointment. Her body is cool next to mine but her infectious joy is a drug in my veins. I wonder when the shift happened as I can feel it within me as well. I’m not the same man. 

I kiss her forehead and she looks up at me, her silver eyes shadowed over but they’ll never be as dark as mine. She stepped into a dangerous life with me. She faces it with such carefree grace I question her understanding of my life. She pokes at my forehead and asks where I go. I smile and apologize, reminding myself to be more present. She says I had better but she’s not upset. She’s idyllic and dances around me as she gathers various food items for her lunch. It’s hard to not feel a twinge of sorrow. I know where this will go.

Her sharp nails pierce the orange skin and she swiftly peels the fruit and pops a section into her mouth. Soft pink lips pucker at the twang of sour and she laughs again. Her melody plays symphonies in my head until I feel her fingers pushing something against my mouth and I’m met with the tart fruit she no longer wants. My brow furrows and she pushes the plate aside saying that it’s no good for anyone. 

She says she wants to ride. She’s gotten so good at learning the horses and developing the bond between them. They race into the setting sun. Her clothes billow as the wind rips around them and for the first time, I don’t join. 

Her horse trots back and she looks down at me with slight worry. She asks me if I’m sure everything is ok. I wish I knew how to communicate better. I wish I could express my happiness, my love, my pride, and my fear. Instead, I help her down and hold her close, breathing her in. She smells of her oranges and fresh air. She giggles and her fingers find my skin and they feel like icicles. I grit my teeth and take it, not willing to let go. 

This dream will end. I know I’ll wake but I can’t manage to pull myself away from this life. I cling to her as if she’s all I have left. Her lips graze my cheek, soft and cold. Her fingers won’t warm though they stay pressed against me. As the night stretches across the skies she grows colder and colder and I cling tighter and tighter. 

Let me sleep a bit longer.   

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