The unspoken questions dangled by imaginary cords tied to the crescent moon suspended over the courthouse, as if waiting on flags to flutter without hesitation before a stray wind stirs enough of a night breeze to whip it into a frenzy.
Have you tired of me yet? Are we near done?
Instead, she asked, “Are you bored?”
Her companion on the bench took the question to mean bored, as in the moment. They had been sitting there, side by side in silence, for quite some time. He said, “Yeah, just a little.”
The night stretched on. Days turned into weeks. Months passed.
She wonders if she can afford him.
This relationship has cost her dearly, and I don’t just mean by her mother’s rejection. That was a given. Her mama was a Separatist born two decades before the Civil Rights Movement, excused from being flat out racist because her narrow minded “to each their own” excluded variations of white people, too.
It wasn’t the first time she ignored her mother’s softly spoken advice on how to live her own life.
As the Matriarch of the family, mama ruled by suggestion and the power of the 12th Commandment: thou shalt not disappoint thy mother. The 11th is don’t argue with her… she took a stand against her mother now and then without arguing, as there were times when mama was so flat out wrong that she could not, in good conscious, go along with her request. Besides, she had disappointed mama so many times over the years that once more only added an inch to the miles already between them. She wishes mama could understand her, that mama would accept her, if she could just love her without so many strings attached.
She loves her mother… alas, people come “as is” even if they are a bit broken.
“I miss my friend,” she said, as he stood by the window.
He continues to look down at the courtyard below, hesitates before putting his thoughts into words.
“No,” she said. “I never told him… he didn’t know any details about you, so race wasn’t the issue. He sent those texts, remember, said I was emotionally cheating…”
He cuts her off by saying, “Yes, I remember. He’s not a friend, never was your friend” and gives her a hard look before ending the conversation with, “a friend would not do you like that.”
She cannot dismiss 20 years so easily, but she drops the subject with silence and sips her coffee as she knows her companion does not like to discuss anything that could be regarded as unpleasant. Their time together is to be enjoyed with the cares of the day behind them.
She still struggles to keep work at work, to walk away from her projects or the computer as if she were punching a time clock at some menial job, to not discuss what she is working on at the dinner table. He thinks she needs to learn how to relax and have fun. She thinks her work is fun.
They are polar opposites, still learning each other.
There are times when he frustrates the hell out of her and times when he simply amazes her. The love they share is a blessing, an unexpected gift so rare that she refuses to take anything for granted, even as their life slips into a daily routine. She knows how easily life can spin on a dime.
In the still of the night, she waits for a breeze.
He slips a muscular arm around her, pulling her closer, hugging her like a living, breathing, human teddy bear. She snuggles into his sleeping form, drifts into her own dreams feeling all safe and loved and comfy warm.