If absence is meant to make the heart grow fonder, then my heart must be bursting, because I've come to depend on his substance like the air that I breathe. I would humor myself that he felt the same way. That I could feel it in the way he touched me; hands shivering as if he was stirring from within, fingers buried in nimble pairs into the confounds of my walls, and later, left arm sneaking in, settling deep in the base of my back and pushing me further into him, or him into me, or both into each other.
I'm not saying it wasn't wonderful in its own way—his company—but it never quite felt like it did before. That feeling of finally being whole, shivering from the core of my being, as if being momentarily at peace was more troubling than comforting. I didn't feel whole because I wasn't empty to begin with. I wasn't his blank canvas anymore; I was a mother and a wife and all too filled with happiness and regret to surrender myself to him. I didn't feel whole, but I was filling up, overflowing, and it wasn't long until I reached a tipping point.
And all along I couldn't help but laugh at the ridiculousness of it all. What was I feeling guilty for? For that man I so dutifully called my husband? The man I found melting beneath his momentary indiscretions? What
a man he was, and what a man he proved to be. I remember that lump in
my throat, whenever he bent over and kissed my swelling belly, whispering our child's name over
and over again. What a man he was, what a man he proved to be.
"Do you want something to eat?" his voice came in slow and unassuming, sinking me further down my haze of post-coital guilt.
"Why do you always insist on feeding me?"
"Well, we are a hospitable people."
I protested, but failed to press further when he leaned in and kissed
the small of my back. He always kissed me in the strangest of places. I
asked him about it once and he claimed it wasn't on purpose. Still, it
makes you wonder, doesn't it? About men that kiss you on the stomach,
and those that kiss you on the very end of your back.
"You know what I've always wondered? Whether you've been with other women, since..." I trailed off, not quite sure where I was going.
"It's so strange to me, you and someone else. I just can't picture it."
"Jealousy doesn't suit you, miss."
smiled, a strained stillness looming over his face. Usually
the color of icy waters, his eyes were now almost black, with pupils dilated nearly double in size. I couldn't help but marvel at how his eyes said so much, when once they said so
little. Had the years really changed
him so much? Or had I simply been blind all this time? What secrets have you told with those eyes, I wonder, and what secrets have I failed to hear?
"You hate being here, don't you?"
"Is he any good?"
"Off you go, then."