Thank God For Fish Tanks And Bottles
by Rabbit

Something motivates you, some half formed idea of what people should do, how the two of us should mesh our lives and personalities into a blissful union. The kind celebrated by nineteen-year-old girls with the latest copy of 'Brides' and young hobbits that collapse into fits of helpless giggles when they find spaces that cameras haven't discovered yet. You still live in that hope, but I've met it face to face, and it's afraid to look me in the eye anymore.

Standing at the sink in a pair of cut off jeans, unraveled fringe of white threads dangling against your thighs. The subtle taint of dried seawater drifts between us, crystallized in delicate patterns because you refused to take a shower after an afternoon spent surfing the waves and just pulled them on over damp skin. They've dried stiff and slightly crunchy. If it were Henry, I'd say change them, but paternal edicts have no place in my kitchen when you're not wearing a shirt.

Later, I'll lay you on the bed and trace the map of the day with my tongue. I won't miss anything, not the joke about the groundhog and the two nuns that Billy told before lunch, or the time that Dominic tackled Elijah in order to see him struggle halfheartedly in the sand beneath him. The best parts are caught in your stifled laugh when I count the pulse throbbing underneath the crease between your leg and pubic bone. When you turn your face into the pillow and groan as I proceed west, I'll know how much you've missed me today.

You've tossed the dishtowel haphazardly over your shoulder; arms plunged into the sink until fragile peaks of suds cling to your elbows. I don't know when it became such a natural expectation to see you here, performing domestic chores. I could try to count back chronologically, pin an exact date, but it seems like such a waste of time. I'd much rather study the anatomy of your back when you lean over to stare at the bottom of the pot you've been scrubbing for the past five minutes.

"You'll scrub the coating off the bottom of the pan," I warn as I pick up a head of lettuce, reluctantly refocusing my attention to the cutting board, the knife, and the fingers I'd like to keep intact. My priorities may be carnal, but my survival instinct is sharper than ever.

"I know how to wash a dish," you say. I know exactly the smirk that accompanies it, because I think I've memorized it.

I remember that enthusiasm from when I was your age, but I never did get a handle on the confidence. It still flickers in and out at inconvenient times, but I'm getting better. It comes so naturally for you. I think I envy you for that.

"Just concentrate on your own business, old man."

You'll pay for that later. Surely you must know that? I don't bother to suppress the smile your teasing brings out, I just dip my head and line the curly leaves of lettuce against the heel of my hand so that they're easier to chop symmetrically. The blade is sharp, cutting fine ravines into the wood block underneath. I don't even check to see if you're watching, if you care what you're stirring. I'm sure you know, and I suspect that's why you do it.

I've stopped trying to understand what we are, or what we'll become. I've made that mistake before. This time I think I just want to see what unfolds.


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