In the sudden stillness of midnight when the sky is silent you return. Quietly you
open the door and slip in to lie beside me breathing hard from where ever it is you’ve been
walking. And I don’t know where you’ve been and I don’t want to know what you’ve seen.
Your world is your own. I close my eyes and concentrate on the sound of the night and the
closeness of the clouds and the way my shoulders feel tight inside my skin.
But in the corner of the room I see your boots plastered with the mud of your journey and feel
the damp sweat in your clothes and I see your quiet mouth and my shoulders fight to push out
of my skin. And then I want to know where you’ve been and what you’ve seen and why your
lips are silent. I struggle to hold myself still.
And then in the darkness you reach for my hand. You hold it simply in yours. And I don’t want
to know anymore. Your world is your own. My shoulders settle. And after a few hours when
the early sun slides through the blinds you quietly put on your boots and slip out.
(Originally published in Flash: The International Short Story Magazine, April 2012)