Nights without him stretch so long. Home, alone as he is away, toiling away for the checks that kept food on the table and a roof above their heads. Those nights were rare enough. Her own work. His shifting hours.
But they were still too often.
She was restless. A few moments in a chair. Drifting to the couch. Lingering in the kitchen. A few chores done, letters jotted out and clothing tucked away. They had been delayed throughout the week but now they were fleeting and did not steal enough time.
The TV on. The light drawing a kaleidoscope of shadows across the wall. Up for a drink and then back to the couch. Her bare feet curled up on the cushion.
It was not that she couldn’t be without him. It was that she did not want to. Things were better when shared with him. Long nights, as the darkness growing to envelop them, sharing kisses and tangled arms. The TV screen viewed sideways with her head tucked upon his lap.
The key turned in the lock.
He was tired. The stress and vigor of his job wearing upon his big shoulders. His keys rattled as he tossed them on the counter. The TV was muted. A late night talk show was parading out the latest celebrity.
A girl. His girl.
Nay…his woman. She was curled up on the couch. Her fingers tangled in her hair beneath her head. Her cheek was pressed against the arm of the chair, the texture of the fabric drawing lines across her pale skin.
Her lips turned up as he leaned over her. He knew she did it on purpose. So that he would have to wake her before he went to bed. One last moment to hear his voice before the night was over.
He bent and kissed her. Together they sleepily stumbled to bed.
“How was work?” she asked, as he wrapped in her in their bedsheets.
She felt the mattress sink as he joined her. He cradled her in his arms. As he began to tell her of the events of his night, she slipped into slumber. The sound of his voice like a lullaby.