Sunday, March 23, 2008
I cried while reading a novel. But, it was so sad...
When he came back and settled in beside her, she reached up slowly, traced the outline of his lips with the tip of her finger. "You first ravished me on the floor in front of a fire, remember?"
He smiled, like a blind woman, she felt his lips curve with the sensitive pad of her finger. "If I remember correctly, you were doing the ravishing."
"And what if I wanted to ravish you now?"
He looked so scared that she wanted to laugh, but it wasn't funny. "Can we?"
He took her in his arms. She knew they were both thinking that she'd lost so much weight there was almost nothing left of her.
Nothing left of her.
She closed her eyes and tightened her hold around his neck.
The bed seemed so big suddenly, like a sea of soft white cotton compared to the bed downstairs that had become hers.
Slowly, Kate took off her robe and peeled out of her nightgown, trying not to notice how white and sticklike her legs were. Even worse was the battlefield that had been her breasts. She looked ruined, like a little boy, only there were the scars.
Johnny stripped out of his clothes, kicked them aside, and climbed back into bed beside her, drawing the covers up to their hips.
Her heart was thumping hard as she looked at him.
"You're so beautiful," he said, and leaned forward to kiss her scars.
Relief and love cracked her open inside. She kissed him, her breath coming hard and ragged already. In their twenty years of marriage, they'd made love thousands of times, and it was always great, but this was different, they had to be gentle. She knew he was terrified of breaking her bones. She hardly remembered later how it had all happened, how she'd come to be on top of him; all she knew was that she needed every part of him, and everything that she was, that she'd ever been was irrevocably tied up with this man. When he finally entered her, slow and easy, filling her, she came down to meet him, and in that glorious second, she was whole again. She bent down and kissed him, tasting his tears.
Finally, smiling, feeling young again, she snuggled up against him. He put an arm around her and pulled her close. They lay there a long time, half sitting against the mound of pillows, watching the firelight, saying nothing.
Then, quietly, Kate said what had been on her mind for a long time. "I can't stand to think of you alone."
"I won't ever be alone. We've got three kids."
"You know what I mean. I'd understand if you and T---"
"Don't." He looked at her finally, and in the eyes she knew as well as her own she saw a pain so deep she wanted to weep.
"It was always you. Just you, Katie. T---- was a one-night stand, a long time ago. I didn't love her then and I never have. Not for a second. You're my heart and soul. My world. How can you not know that?"
She saw the truth in his face, heard it in the tremble in his voice, and she was ashamed of herself. She should have known this all along. "I do know that. I'm just so worried about you and the kids. I hate to think..."
This conversation was like swimming through acid; it burned through flesh and bone. "I know, baby," he said finally. "I know."