You walked into her bedroom-her bedroom with the light in every corner and the pretty, somewhat delicate, lavender curtains- and found her curled up in the beanbag chair she bought at Nakumatt almost a year ago. The price had been wild, to you, not her, and you had asked her why she would want a chair that wasn’t even really a chair. Why not pick something…sturdier, you had asked. Something that stood on four legs and had a proper back rest and that you sat on, not sunk in. She had laughed in that light and airy laugh of hers and shooed you away. If you’re not going to be supportive, then I will look for support elsewhere, she said, Like in this nice attendant who, I’m sure, will help me find the perfect one. The attendant had smiled— thank God it had been a man—and he looked easy-going enough to find the humor in her words, and had turned to her looking just as supportive as she had wanted. See? She had mocked you.
She had settled, one and a half hours later, for one in a color she had called burgundy although you were pretty sure it was either brown or maroon, and in which she was cozied up now.
She heard you enter and looked up from her book.
She gave you a smile that wasn’t a full smile. A smile that said she was happy to see you but she was expecting that you would put in the effort to make her happier still. A smile that said ‘there is room for improvement’. “Hi.”
You sighed and put your bag down, gently so that your laptop didn’t hit the floor. You walked to her, almost hesitating to look at her for a bit first because she wore the soft touch of the 5 o’ clock sunshine just right and you would have been an idiot not to notice it. You took her face in your hands and kissed her. She yielded easily.
Why the exasperation in your sigh? If you’re going to sigh the minute you come in and see me, then it should be a sigh of relief that I’m still here.
Relief? You laughed. I’m supposed to be worrying that you’re going to run off with some Italian guy?
Exactly. It’s always an Italian guy.
A pause sat between you as you perched yourself on one end of the bean-thing chair and she adjusted to make room for you.
You sighed again. Don’t even ask, you replied as you leaned back into her, even though you knew that she would always ask and that you liked it when she did.
She stretched herself and sat up. You moved further in so that your head was on her chest and you could feel the warm softness of her woollen sweater and her relaxed heartbeat beneath it. The sunlight was now sweet on your face, not hers, and you wondered whether she thought that it hit you just right and made your brown eyes look soft and lovely, like a child’s—the way you had thought when it was her in its path.
I really don’t want to talk about it right now, you said. You didn’t want to ruin the one morsel of quiet this day was letting you have with thoughts about everything that had gone wrong from the moment you had clocked in seven minutes late, just as your bitchy supervisor walked past. Thank God it was a Friday and you had had the option of coming here when the day was done screwing you over; here to warmth and sweetness and possibly a hot meal later on, instead of going home to your own apartment with miserable fries that you would have to warm in the microwave, to a night alone with your thoughts. Yes, thank God it was Friday.
She didn’t say anything else. Your eyes closed but you heard her close her book and put it away. One of her hands began stroking your chin, your cheeks, pulling gently on the hairs, using her index finger to scratch every now and then just the way you often pretended you didn’t like, and the feeling was slowly lulling you to sleep.
Her other hand was on your head, also moving gently, softly, lightly. Calling her as you left the office was the best decision you made today. Alright, come, she had said as though she had been expecting you to call all along. Are you coming with food or should I arrange myself, she had asked. You had hesitated and she had read your hesitation, like her phone was spelling out your thoughts to her. She liked it when you came with something to eat, but she also knew that you knew that. Just come, I’ll sort it out, she had said.
Now you listen to the movement of her fingers on your face. You listen to the soft, easy-going way of her heart. You listen to her breathing, now up, now down. You remember the ring box in the pocket of the jacket you wore two days ago. Your own heart beat slows down and you can feel yourself slipping away.
This is home, you think.
Warm and sweet and home…
This is home…