The repackaging of words to suit the mood, to soothe the mood ensued around 6 pm, often later, rarely over the noon hour. Darkness crossed threshold as he stood in the doorway savoring his view of her, legs bare, hair in a messy bun atop her head and her pencil between her teeth as she worked at the kitchen table. The shadow of his form fell onto the lacquered edge and as he approached the grey stain moved with him overtaking the folded newspaper at her elbow, then the cuff of her sleeve and eventually covering her hands and the keyboard and the laptop screen.
She could feel the heat of his arm as he placed a hand flat on the table and circled behind her, chest to her back, now left hand positioned to her left wrists bent, elbows angled, lips to her ear.
“Say, sweetheart, don’t you want to knock off now? I’m sure I can find something else for you to put your hands on.”
She liked to preserve her work to life balance and in the years prior had prepared quickly, assisting in the shift by clearing the cache, deleting the download history, closing the mac book and positioning herself on the leather couch at the sound of the garage opener. The whirr of the motor and the telltale squeak of the right side rail announced the changing role she needed to assume and by the time the slam of the driver’s door echoed through the space she assessed what she had and had not accomplished that day and took care to erase all worry from her face.
The petty cash stash in the white box that held the flat gold hammered necklace was in it’s place. This week she was approved for her first credit card bearing only her name, delighted when the service representative on the other end of the line asked which style she preferred, classic or purple with orange edging or blue plaid tech, and delighted at the obvious choice, purple, choosing her favorite and his least favorite all at once.
The 7, turn past, then rest on 12, then back to 22 was followed by the pleasing sound of the bell, a whining bell, drawn out but not shaky, announcing the lock was opened and private contents could be added. Or removed. The sifting through memories was distracting but not daunting, and the shuffle through the top layer allowed the extraction of one passport, birth certificates for three children, social security card copies for all, the appraisal of her mother’s diamond ring and the twenty four, black and white 3×5 photos she had snapped of herself in various stages of undress while taking that photography course during the first summer she moved to the city from Smallville, way up in the northern half of the state that still owed her an explanation of what part of childhood she was supposed to refer to when she thought about why she needed to move to to that apartment above the diner so quickly after graduation.