He’s not tall. Not exactly. Nor robustly strong, though I suspect he could swing an axe if pressed to chop a cord of wood. He’s smart. That counts for a lot in the long run. He’s kind. That makes up for anything missing. He’s funny, sometimes, and that pretty much sews it up.
He dresses simply, in the dark, sitting on the bed, one sock at a time, thoughtfully, listening to the sound of the rain on the skylight. He ambles downstairs and makes ginger water, hot tea and a small plate of toast, putting the marmalade in a tiny bowl with a small silver spoon. The spoon has three daffodils on the handle. He knows I like that spoon and this is his way of saying, “I remember.”
He brings in the paper and folds it neatly on the dining room table, opens a window so we can hear the creek while we sit. This is our conversation, mostly–-the sound of the creek overflowing its banks. The occasional fir cone that falls into the water. He looks up and at me to see if I heard it. I did. We smile.
I slide my foot across the hardwood floor onto his, and rub the top of his foot with my sock. He looks round from the right side of the paper and smiles. He reads again. I bump his foot with mine, three times. He looks round the paper again, his eyebrows raised. I like it that he does not speak. Not a word. He will finish the story. He will read the entire section before he looks at his watch.
I will clear the toast plate and tea pot and marmalade bowl, taking care to wash and dry the tiny spoon and to replace it in the same drawer. I will not take his cup. Never. He will finish on his own schedule. Could take hours. I will wait, working quietly in the kitchen, or writing something in the study. Later I will hear him, folding the paper, placing the cup softly in the sink.
He’s mine, then.
The morning will be ruined for All Things Productive. He’ll turn off the phone and lock the door. He will not play music or news. He will go upstairs and sit on the bed and take off his socks just as he put them on, earlier, slowly and with care. He will open the skylight, even if it’s raining. He will pull back the comforter and I will slide in, fully clothed. He will laugh and shake his head. Later dress and socks and flannel trousers will lay in a pile on the floor.
He will pull me close against his chest and slide his arm under my neck. I will smell his skin and his body will warm the sheets and my body. He will put his hand in my hair and stroke the curls. Not intending to, he will sigh.
Lunch time will come and pass. We will get up finally, and the fire will be nearly out. He will open the door to the stove and stoke it again. I will make coffee.