She Sleeps

she-sleeps

She sleeps.

I sit and watch. She feels safe when I’m there with her. I know even though she’s never told me. It’s there in the tranquil way her body lies under the sheets.

The autumn breeze whispers through the screen. The purr of cicadas whirs in my ears.

Is it possible to be so infinitely happy? So at peace. So still. So at home with the love of your heart.

She is the one I love. I knew it the first moment I saw her—that coffee shop in late August two years ago: me lost in some worthless conversation on my phone waiting on my order, and then I . . . how do I explain it? I felt her near me. I felt her before I saw her. I turned, and we saw each other.

Is it possible to fall in love at first sight? Can I use that cliché? It is a cliché. I know that, yet, I have to use it. No other words will do.

She didn’t smile, not right away, but in those bottomless eyes, those turquoise infinities, I felt her reach out to me. And I fell for her like a tree struck by lightning in the thundering mountain storms. Struck dumb to my core. Scarred for life. Scarred with a love so deep, so endlessly exquisite.

In that sliver of time—that breath—so marginal, so meaningless in its length, I was undone.

I became hers.

She became mine.

She stirs. I caress a strand of raven hair from her brow. I feel it damp with sweat.

I step to the window and raise it a bit more. Yes, good. The breeze flows around me, embraces me.

I stand watching her. My heart pumps, throbs, thrums threatening to explode with a love that consumes me.

She moves, subconsciously leaning into the night’s coolness. The curve of her breast pushes into the sheet for a moment as she turns and nuzzles deeper into her pillow.

I sit on the edge of the bed and watch her. She needs her rest. She works so hard; I can see the strain in her eyes when she gets home from work, the way she composes herself in her car before coming into the house. She doesn’t know that I know.

But when she sleeps, I know all is well. She is safe. She is loved.

I kiss the top of her head. Softly. So softly. I will not wake her.

She squirms, twists, turns onto her stomach. Glistening black hair cascades across her pillow, her naked back flawless in the moonlight.

I feel the love in my heart washing against my chest, waves crashing on forgotten beaches responding to the haunting call of the moon.

She sleeps.

At peace.

Radiant.

Goodnight I whisper.

I let myself out quietly.

Her husband will be home soon.

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