The words over at Three Word Wednesday are cherish, guarantee and nausea.
The Shells We Build
There was no tenderness in his caress, not anymore.
She felt like he was petting the dog when he mauled over her, a rough hand across her skin, an equal rhythm, long tedious strokes. And at each end, a pat.
So different, she thought, than when they first met. He couldn’t keep his hands off her, especially her hair. Naturally wavy, she wore it past her shoulders. It was thick, vibrant – took forever to dry. Best of all, her color was natural, no dyes or artificial colorings. And it was a rich shade of espresso.
She cherished those times, wondered where they went, if they were over.
She got up, he in mid-stroke across her arm, and walked slowly out the door.
She felt no eyes on her. He was, she thought, encased in stone. She sighed.
Being in the same room with her was murder. He felt like he was underwater, holding his breath. Pressure in his sinuses from the squint and a wet slickness all over.
Of course he never said anything. He tried to touch her, she had always responded, but now it seemed like she was wearing a coat, head-to-toe.
He put two hands on his belly and shook his head. She had always loved that about him, the muscles taut under his skin. He felt her looking, all sexual and exciting, and he’d want to touch her more. Bury his face in the luxury of her hair.
Time, age and success were catching up to him, he knew. Too many business lunches, not enough movement. Used to be, an elevated heart rate was his nightly reward; not it was a double Scotch and a seat on the leather sofa.
He caressed the pudgy and was embarrassed and ashamed. No wonder she never looked at him anymore. He sighed.
There was guarantee that things would ever get better. They both thought it. It was a good run, but the cold between them was biting. It was beginning to hurt.
They’d seen friends go through the process. The nights spent crying over the phone, drunk texts from strip bars, lunches that were uncomfortable as hell.
They watched, both of them, as their friends when to hell and came back. Maybe a little stronger, a little wiser.
They watched one another a bit more closely. Looking for sign. They saw unhappiness, tension.
He was rinsing out the highball when she came into the kitchen. He was whistling. He stopped. A wave of nausea washed over him. She’d been crying. She leaned her ass on the island, put both arms behind her as a brace.
She had let herself cry in the bathroom for 15 minutes, no more, no less. He was washing his glass early and it made her feel sick. She wasn’t ready. The kitchen was a stupid place to have this out. She stood. Walking deliberately, she heard him whistling and her knees buckled.
“I want a divorce,” they both said, in unison.
Again in perfect unison.
She slapped him across the cheek, twice. The sting brought tears.
He slapped her back, once. Hard.
Her tears came, then sobs.
Then a caress, soft across the redness that had risen on her cheek. She melted into his chest. He buried his face into her hair.
And then, just then, a stirring in their hearts as their bodies heated up, fingertips roaming free, passion.