Standing at the kitchen counter, she quietly and quickly assembles the sandwich, squaring the meat and cheese and bread, just so. It goes into the Baggie with a pinch and a zip.
As she methodically works, her thoughts are busied with arranging today’s list of things to do: call the school, revise the contract, do some laundry, and on and on.
Behind her, as is true of most mornings, she hears his footsteps on the hard floor, slow and uneven, tentative from sleep. As he nears, she feels the muscles in her body tense. She knows why, but she doesn’t want to know why. Already, she is telling herself, “Let him in, let him in.” Still, she tenses, closing her eyes, her body deceiving her, as usual.
Enclosing her, his arms wrap around her, sliding in under her own arms and around her waist, his chin resting on her shoulder, and his whiskers brushing against her cheek as it locks into the crook of her neck.
“Good morning, beautiful,” he says, optimistic.
She hears the sigh before she feels it, knowing it has just escaped her own lips, wishing it had not. Closing her eyes, she wills her body to relax, but it does not, she is busy after all. There are so many things to do, doesn’t he know that?
As soon as the last inch of air releases her lungs, that telling sigh, she feels it. The courage, the risk, the hope, slowly letting go – his fingers not so tight, his arms not so strong, his head a bit heavier on her shoulder.
-image found on Pinterest; based on real life many years ago