February 6, 2016

For a moment, she thought he had written a date far in the future. Then she remembered he was European.

It had been this way since the start—she had not expected there to be so many ways in which she would have to reset her thinking just to align their cultures. Perhaps I’m naive, she told her friend. I just thought he would be like all the other guys, but with an accent.

Her friend laughed, then chuckled a bit more gently. It’s not so important that he give you what you expect, the friend said. It’s far more important that he give you what you need.


Dawn walk

February 4, 2016

At dawn, they wandered back home through the mist-loved woods and along a rutted path. They had past the point of asking questions, were already entwining their silences. He thought about holding her hand, but decided it wasn’t necessary, yet. She already knew he wanted to touch her.

It seems odd to be ending things as everyone else is just getting started with their day, she said.

I think you have it backward, he said. This, here, is just the beginning.


Stay awhile

February 2, 2016

What they had was each other, there where earth and sky intersected, with the clouds laid before them like the softest picnic blanket. They knew they’d have the stars and moon later, but then, it was just them, unaccompanied. They were alone together, finally, and even the feel of the air on their skin was new.

We should never leave this spot, she said, and he agreed with the biggest part of his heart. It had taken them so long to climb the narrow path to get there, and he was prepared to stay awhile.



January 28, 2016

Gape-mouthed furies drove him to it, their screeching-howling cacophony eclipsing his thoughts. As their voices swelled, even walking across the room became impossible—he could not hear the sound of his feet against the floor.

Later, after they found him, people told stories about what might have happened. No one could have known the truth of it. No one could have imagined the open mouths, the sunken eyes, the noises that crossed every boundary his brain had ever constructed against darkness and terror.


Shark behavior

January 22, 2016

The aquarium tank’s window dwarfed them, the bluefin tuna and the sharks swimming above them as calmly as if they were out at sea.

I don’t think people should trap the fish, she said. I’ve always had a problem with it.

But, this way we can get to know them better, he said. We can learn their patterns, and their ways of behaving.

She wandered toward the far edge of the window, then, as if she needed to wriggle free of his grasp. She had barely stopped moving since he met her.


Through the grate

January 20, 2016

When she heard about the man who fell through the subway grate, it confirmed all her long-held, irrational fears. Now, anything was possible. Her next flight could explode on take-off. She could catch lice by borrowing a friend’s brush. She was lucky, indeed, to have never gotten pregnant just by swimming in a pool. Or, most terrifying of all, she could finally—finally—fall in love, despite her advanced age.



January 18, 2016

At sunset, they set fire to the house they had built together. It had been a dry season, and the timbers caught quickly, then flared as if in anger.

There’s no going back now, he said, and she had no good response. She could not have foreseen this when they drew up the plans.

When it had all collapsed on itself in a pile of embers, she let go of his hand for the last time. It was a beautiful fire, she said. Thank you, at least, for that.


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