Behind the curtain

Tucked behind a lace curtain, James ran his hand over the hair of his wife, her hand on his chest with her head crooked into his shoulder. Slightly frayed with the first few grays, each strand felt like a memory, two children sleeping in a pink and red room two doors over. Catching up on the latest episode of Big Brother, it was hardly the show that mattered, the volume little more than coffee shop murmur compared to the scent of her hair, the soft puckering of her first wrinkles. She was already sleeping anyway, was always put to sleep by the telly. Sucking in a deep breath, James tilted his head back on the couch, closing his eyes with a smile as her fingers rose and fell with his chest. This was the great wonder of familiarity, the intimate joy of knowing someone so close. It was twelve years since they’d been married, two kids, laughter, tears. They’d grown a lot since then, fought, made up, worked. It was amazing the beauty of silence, the noise of her lungs pulling in air. How well he knew her breath, and still he loved to hear it, the curl of her knuckles, strands of loose hair.

James straightened his legs in a slow, luxurious stretch. Re-adjusting his body beneath her as he released, his wife wriggled in kind, re-settling at his side as he turned his head deeper in, drew in her warmth at a shiver. Easing out a final yawn, he drew a blanket over their waists, let the TV run. In a few hours they’d wake again, gather their things and silence the screen. Real silence would reign when they finished, with the last shuffing sound of their sheets. But for now, he could wait, could let her rest undisturbed. This was the joy of his wife, of being her husband, and how he loved her well.

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