when we didn’t know


“I don’t want this to be over,” she says and rolls towards him. He turns his head.

Her head sinks further into the pillow she wrestled with all night. His rests still, the same as it has since they arrived.

Muted green paint and wood panels cover the walls on his side of the bed. On her side, gray brick, the enclosure for the wood stove. Around the room, photos and paintings – a sheep, a dream catcher, a burgundy abstract, a smear of blue and gray with something like the moon – hang matted and framed. A small shelf next to the bed holds a bowl of shells, books about tiny houses and instructions on building with stones. A table lamp sits on the floor in the corner and a basket hangs above their heads.

She reaches her hand across his chest. He blinks when she moves then looks down the bed, out the french doors into the yard.

In this morning light, his eyes are the color of burnt amber. She read about amber once. Amber heals; a natural painkiller seeps out when it meets skin. Her friend had a necklace made of amber. She said it helped her headaches.

He stretches his arm over her head. She moves her head from her pillow to his chest.

“I think a tiny house in the woods would be really quiet.”

She has not heard anything besides the refrigerator for hours. She pulls the quilt to cover her shoulder and buries her nose in his ribs.

The alarm clock went off an hour ago.

The trees in the yard look like tall sticks in the ground. They look, at any minute, as if they could blow over.

He wraps his foot around her leg.

“I don’t want this to be over,” she says.

“It is hard to get out of this bed,’’ he says.

She picks up her head and kisses him on the cheek. He looks outside. She slides her arm under his arm then back under her own body. He places his hand on her shoulder.

The refrigerator hum sounds like air blowing through tight gears. Last night she thought it was a chicken.

She turns into him a little more and rests her hand across his stomach. He brings his hand to meet hers.

She watches him. His unblinking amber eyes, fixed on the wall. She looks down the bed, out the window. He looks at her.

His hand moves across her body and she slides her head back onto his chest. His heartbeats in her ear; steady if not a little fast.


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