It’s morning, the sun barely winking through the gaps in the pine trees. My cold toes meet yours on the kitchen floor and the silence around us feels like another person. The coffee pot tries to speak, but stutters to silence as our power dies out.
You sigh, but still kiss me, pull back, and kiss me again. Your hand doesn’t leave my spine and your eyes that are still as bright as they were when we were sixteen look at me with amusement. “Are you going to sell that piece today?”
“Yes, I am, everything is going according to plan.”
My mind wanders to the table sitting in our garage, a mahogany masterpiece engraved with vines and ivy that remind me of the plants that grew in your mother’s yard. She said they grew quick, but somehow you were quicker, an adult in the blink of an eye. Last week, I told you I had found a buyer.
“Are you sure you want to do this?”
You stare out the glass doors at our rolling backyard, the brick walk half-finished leading to our shed—a building where a claw bathtub sits in the middle of a room surrounded by candles on black and white tiled floor. It’s our happy place; an imaginary vacation since we can’t afford a hotel or an out-of-state trip in our hand-me-down Volkswagen. We built the shelter together our first year here, a home inherited from my grandfather after our accident.
I touch your arm and your chestnut eyes hit mine.
“Of course, I do. Two jobs is nothing, my dad had three.”
“And he was never home.” And I wonder why you want to come home to a woman like me.
“I’ll be home Lex.” You kiss my forehead and take your resumé from the counter.
“I can get a job.”
You shake your head. “You’re better here working on your things.”
The things that make our world beautiful, that I want to use to make other worlds bearable. For some reason, you believe I can do it and that’s enough to give my weak body wings.
“Just make sure you sell that piece, I want a shower tonight.”
Your tired hands squeeze my hip and I let you pull me into one last hug before you leave me for the day. It is unavoidable, a fact I am still learning to accept.
Your hand touches the handle before you look over your shoulder. “I’ll see you in a few hours.”
You don’t say you love me, we’ve never murmured those words in the seven years we’ve been together. We don’t have to, you don’t have to. I see the truth in the world around us, the way you continue to return to a home that loses power every three months, and a woman that struggles with her identity just as frequently.
We save our ‘I love yous’ in a jar under the bed, beside the box I carved with the picture of an unborn child, our almost beautiful accident. We save them for a rainy day when the truth can’t be heard in the silence of the walls and the comfort of intertwined fingers.
Our ‘I love yous’ are not an umbrella to break in the wind, but a raft to float along the floods in. Together.
I watch your car leave the driveway before going to the bedroom and dialing the number of the man meant to buy my goods. Tomorrow we will have electricity again, you will smile, and I’ll add another I love you to our jar and another unsold project to the storage unit in Omaha; the one that you have no idea about, the one that my grandfather bought for me after his death.
Eventually my wings will fly, and the truth of my income won’t sting. The pride in your eyes will be fed by honesty and not the corruption of a tired soul.
I lay beside you and pray for another accident as your hand squeezes mine in the quiet of another morning.