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I press a lathered washcloth across your chest and belly. So this is all our lives have been
leading to. Retching fills the bathroom air. Reaching above my head, I open the window,
drawing the scent of sweet alyssum, like honey, like stillness after rage. Hush. You’re
talking nonsense. I lift your elbow to clean beneath your arm, and again, a gust of
musk. I’ve lost it. As if the search was over or had never begun. As if you’d been set
loose on the wind like ashes. But you’re right here. It’s this house. Those eyes, cloudy,
almost blue, following my hand as it glides toward your groin, which, for me, for the
first time, feels unseemly—to be washed, yet to be exposed, since, between them, there
is no distinction. Who speaks for you now? Then the silence of waiting, though an
answer will never come, for what can you say when even the truth is unbelievable?
Water dripping from the cloth, chiming in the tub, drumming on your chest, brings
me back into my flesh. Thank goodness the smell of you is gone, outside rushing in.