He reached for her hand in sleep, but stopped short. She was beautiful in this light. The dawn was dimly lit and exhumed just beyond. She was wrapped in sheets up to her shoulder, sparsely freckled. The arc of her cheeks, gothic, then willows. Her leg twitched and he ceased tracing her chalk ghost on the mattress. He turned back over and stared at the tape peeling on the back wall.
In the morning, she smiled as she woke. He kissed her on the forehead and she kissed him at the subtle apse of lip and cheek. He kissed her neck and then kissed the apse and closer. You can, you know, she said. I know, he said. But I can’t. Not really. She gave him sad eyes and he gave them back.
I’d lie here for days, if I could, she said. You could, you know, he said. Her eyes were river wash and his were dark and each questioned the other with them and that bridge they made was well worn already. Yes, I know, she said. Let’s not talk about it, and he said it as he rocked his body into hers and they bracketed in the hush.
After an hour more, he pulled her hand into his.
He dozed to symmetrical breath and when he woke again he knew she was up already. What, he said. Oh, she said. Claire, he said.
When noon came he hung his leg over the sheet because it was getting warm. The blinds kept a little of the sun out. She looked at him and her face was flushed. He kissed her neck over again, the dimple returns of her shoulder, the lunette mouth of her collarbone. She smiled broad and her eyes were closed. Mmmmm, she said. He laughed and moved up to look at her.
He dozed off again in the afternoon, and she looked at the drawing she had made for him. The tape was peeling from the radiator thrum, and he should have moved it by now. She had drawn her childhood home and the hills of San Francisco. As she started to drift, she envisioned a cluster of snuggled Addisons and followed the tramlines that ran across his wall. She fell asleep writing streets across his cupboards.
He tried to hold her and she moved away. I can’t sleep with someone touching, she said. Why, he said. I don’t know. I just cant, and she turned her back but was not angry.
It was night and they hadn’t yet gone. What about before, he said. What do you mean, she said. I’m upset, he said. Oh…it doesn’t matter. It wouldn’t fair to be angry. Today’s been nice. She pulled her legs up in bed and the tensile face was fragile and so were the shaking finials of her knees. What, she said.
You must have, he said around midnight. Before this, you must have. Slept with someone holding you. I cant, she said. Not well, anyway. C’mon. Don’t. I’m not, he said. It’s silly. You are silly, she said and smiled and they steepled their fingers against each other. I should say, he said. What, she said. It is Saturday, he said. I know it, she said. I’m staying. I don’t feel like that. Not today. He pushed his face into her hair and nuzzled her and sketched a new city blueprint from vein to vein. Today’s been nice, he said. Yes, she said and she looked at her phone to see if she had missed any messages.