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Mar 2014
She woke suddenly in the dusky black of just-after-midnight from a nightmare that vanished into a puff of dust mores through her ears. Her breath, nonetheless, still came in short bursts as she attempted to regain what oxygen she has lost in the uncountable seconds before her consciousness had become alert. She groped for the source of warmth beside her and was relieved to find him just where she'd left him before falling into the deep sleep she'd just found her way out of. He was a light sleeper and stirred as her fingertips, cool to the touch despite her feverish response to the dream, danced across the slight ridges of his abdominal muscles. He squirmed under her piano-playing on his ribs, turning away in sleepy annoyance. He was used to being awoken like this, but he didn't enjoy it. He put up with it, though; he loved the mysterious creature beneath the thin sheets beside him too much to do anything but. Through even all the years of memories, both good and bad and mediocre, certain things still set him away from the darker path; the curve of her breast out from her ribs then back in a perfect circle toward the muscle beneath her bicep as she lifted her arms to pull a shirt effortlessly over her head, for example, was his favorite. He loved the way each part of her, perhaps apart considered ugly or disgusting, was together a masterpiece of sinew and muscle and skin and hair and blood and bone. She wrapped her arm around his waist then, sending a shiver of pleasure through him, though not strong enough to pull either of them out of their drowsiness. Her other hand, fingernails sliding smoothly across his skin, burrowed between his side and the cool, slightly grimy sheet to entwine with its pair's fingers. She pulled herself to fold over the curve of his back, then sighed and sank deeper into his presence. Her legs, only slightly rough from neglecting to shave the day before, slid between his,, like the supple vines that grow around the thick trunks of trees in the rain forests of South America. She turned her head so he felt the silhouette of her full cheek, her uneven lips (the lower lip seemed in the right light imbalanced and too thin for the upper), her squat nose, her long eyelashes that looked like the entrails of recently abandoned spiderwebs in the morning light (she always complained of them being too thin and ringed her eyes with black, which she always forgot was there and rubbed into a cloud of ash), the edge of her hairline press into his back. One of her toes twitched to catch his in the abyss and tangle of sheets around his feet and they kept it there, two toes entwined as the rest of them. They remained this way for the rest of the night, until the first light leaked and then streamed through the gauzy curtains over the window and he had to rise for work and untangle himself from her hold to kiss her awake and goodbye on the nose before leaving for the day.
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