He sat alone at his desk, a place that he seemed to be more and more often, and in a state that seemed to be occurring more frequently than he would have liked. His desk was, in times past, where they would sit together and discuss anything under the sun. For hours they would look out of the windows that completely surrounded his study and examine the beauty of the world around them. She would sit in his lap and curl herself about him, petting his hair while they bantered about plans for the future, sailing the ocean, why she didn’t like his BBQ, or how her lilac perfume made him sneeze.

Those days had become fewer as they became more comfortable with the silences between them. He knew, early on, that if he had let the silence linger for too long perhaps they would not have made it through those dark times that every couple must encounter at some point in their lives. As time passed the fear subsided, it was okay to not speak all the time, to not fill the silence out of necessity. A part of him missed those days, as he likened them to a flower opening its petals to the sun and basking in the warm radiance that gives life.

They still talked about things, serious things, silly things, things that aroused them and made them passionate, and things that made one or the other hurt inside. He always knew when he said something that cut her, though she tried not to let on when he did. As a proud and stubborn person she carried around herself an aura that screamed defiantly at anyone who would challenge her. Not with him, though. When they were together her aura softened, and if he said something hurtful he could feel her diminish. Her eyes stayed strong, but her spirit wavered. What she was not aware of was that he hurt just as much as she did when that happened.

He was not sure exactly when it happened that they began to drift apart, only that he found himself locked within the terrible reality with no escape. So now he sat at his desk, wondering what he could do to solve the problem, wondering if there really was a problem or if he was mistaken. He knew he was correct, but he hoped against all things that he was wrong. It was hard for him because he knew only by feeling, he had no real knowledge of the truth of his thoughts. He had felt her hesitation. To him her emotion was a tangible thing, something he could feel around him and he had felt the hesitation from her. When she touched him, when she looked at him, he could feel the reservations she felt.

His thoughts were interrupted by a quiet click, the door at the foot of the stairway to his study shutting. She was always so quiet moving about their house, not purposefully, but as if she did not want to disturb anything. He listened to her footfalls on the stairs, slow and measured, counting the steps in which she would have to face him. He continued to look away from where the stairs would bring her up into the study and out the windows that showed him blue skies. He felt her presence before he felt her touch, he knew when she would lay her hand on his shoulder, just as she knew that he would reach up and grasp it tenderly, yet firmly.

“I love you,” he whispered to her fingers, and felt the reciprocating pressure. She often had no words for him now, and he had come to realize this was the closest he would get to a response. He turned to again look out the window until he felt something he hadn’t in a very long time. She did not release his shoulder to pull the extra chair next to his, she slipped into his lap, pressing her body against his in a way only someone familiar with the other could accomplish. They molded together as if they were one being that had been split apart, but now the pieces had been assembled.

She pressed her cheek against the top of his head and he felt her body shudder. She began to cry, not the soft and innocent tears of a youthful woman, but the dark and heavy sobs of loss and pain.  He held her tight, and he felt her hesitation fade away. It broke him inside to feel her anguish, but relief flooded the emptiness that was holding his heart. He held her, and she wept, crying bitterly for the losses she had suffered over the last few years, ending with what she perceived was the loss of her love for a man she had once adored. She wept in joy, for the hesitation was gone.

Listen to an audio transcript of this short at Synaptic Thought.