Sunday, June 17, 2007

On the day that they met he paused by her table to read a menu posted in the window, somehow not noticing everything that the part of her hair was trying to tell him. She cleared her throat from right below his chest and he jumped and looked down at her, startled. "Oh no, you can't stand there," she smiled apologetically and shrugged, "Your shadow weighs much too much."

He moved and the sunlight flooded the space where he had been. He noticed that her fingernails were the same color as a candy apple, and in that beam of light her face and the curve of her arm looked open and fragile and invincible. He thought he might be having a stroke.

All of this, down to the fire in his fingertips, were details that he had forgotten for years. And then one night she sighed and told him that her hands were too heavy to lift. He touched the side of her throat and she rolled over, slowly, like a luxury liner settling into the ocean, and as he watched her shoulder blades turned into plates of armor. He wasn't ever sure how she did that; how she turned, suddenly, into the surface of the moon.

In a beam of light from a streetlamp he noticed a light scratch on the back of her neck, left there absentmindedly by a too-forceful fingernail, and the curve of her nape looked so fragile that each whorl of his fingerprints burst into flame. He thought about tracing the line of it but hesitated, unsure if he was afraid of breaking her or himself.

(Related: 1, 2, 3, 4. This series is happening because I lost a bet, but it's nearly over.)

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