The shower water weighted down Elsie’s hair, flattening it, but not quite straightening it. Her hair stubbornly held on to its frizzy lines, albeit in a drenched, limp fashion.
Hildreth smiled and kissed the side of her face. “You are wonderful. Simply wonderful. Don’t you ever believe anyone who tells you otherwise.”
She covered his hands with her own. “Same way I feel about you.”
“Els.” There was so much more he wanted to say, but his heart was too full of words for him to speak. So, he simply held her closer and whispered her name as the shower water fell on them both.
Barbara rubbed the shampoo into her hair. She closed her eyes as she raised her head to the falling water.
The shampoo cascaded down her chest and back.
And Barbara’s thoughts turned to Ambrose. She hugged herself and, in her imagination, his arms embraced her.
I’ve taken showers alone for all of my life and I’ve been fine with it.
She bowed her head.
Now, I wish he were here with me.
Barbara opened her eyes. “Life is a surprising thing.” She scrubbed the remaining shampoo out of her hair. “I never thought I’d feel this way. I never imagined that I could be lonely in my own shower.”
On the bright side, I don’t have to wait for tonight to see him again. He is here with me. He is sleeping in my bed.
Our bed. My home. Our home. My life. His life. Our lives blended together into one. Yet, our lives are still individual lives. I am me. He is him.
Barbara soaped herself up. As her hands moved over her breasts, she recalled his hands caressing them. Her face flamed, but not from shame. She quickly washed the soap off her body.
She shut off the water and got out of the bathtub. She wrung her hair, wrapped herself in a towel, and returned to her bedroom.
Ambrose was still sound asleep.
She approached the bed.
He had rolled onto his chest and burrowed his face into his pillow. The blanket had slipped down, exposing most of his back. His bare arms lay in relaxed lines along the sides of his head.
Barbara sat beside him.
He sighed in his sleep, but he didn’t stir at all.
She smiled and drew her finger down the middle of his back. “I wonder if you realize how touchable you are. Your skin is soft and your back isn’t hairy, which is nice. Your hair is so black and thick. I love how it feels. I love everything about you. Do you know that?”
He kept sleeping.
Barbara laid down beside him and stretched her arm across his back. “The great divide is still between us. I stand in the day. You stand in the night. But I am happy to lay here in the shadows with you.” She pressed her forehead against him. “I would gladly marry you again.”