It’s 3 am.
The clock has turned into a hammer as its limbs strike each minute. Flipping the covers back, she pulls her knees to her chest and rolls left where bare toes touch the coldness of the hardwood and as she runs her fingers through her hair to shake out tangled mass that comes with the restless gerbil-wheel of replayed conversations; the goodbye ending hasn’t changed.
His words do not hear her command to stay in the salt on her pillow. Instead they rise up from the tangled sheets and carry themselves on the silence and stillness of pre-dawn darkness, peppering her shoulder blades and the curve of her spine, weaving themselves around her throat and tracing the letters of letting go from her shoulders to her hip , up and down and up and down, until she shivers and has to hold back the sobs, and save the waking of the day for his sunrise. She kindly declines to disturb his dawn, is still giving, generous, she has no contempt for his theft of her night.
Despite the mental rewrites, no matter how carefully each has devoured his library of gold-spined secrets to success, the timeless aching honesty of all well-worn romance novels prevails. Their story remains the same; trysts and touch are nothing if they rob him of peace of mind, if he holds back that wonderful smile he lets fly when he sees her.
So, he rises early to take in a new, clean day while she holds on to the night to take everything from each moment. He won’t settle, has tasted and stands tall knowing what he puts into the universe will return and he must keep himself from her.
She assures him the most exquisite pain is still feeling, knows the music will take over after the words stop pummeling her heart and head.
And when he’s home, he looks into the mirror, alone, and protects his reflection from dishonor.
She makes her home where her spirit is alone, unknown, and finds in the lines of her face no regrets.
She raises her glass filled with his favorite Sangiovese, sips, savors and forces a smile. Cheers wise man. She expected no less.