Just a touch

She bent over her and her husband’s bed and wept. He was asleep in the basement. The divorce papers were in the drawer and her wedding pictures and other keepsakes thrown together in a box in the corner of the bedroom. The tears that had been lying dormant for months decided to escape from her soul tonight. She wept aloud and decided she didn’t care if he heard her because tonight she knew her marriage of 22 years was finally over and it was grievous to her.

She shuffled her feet along the wooden, creaky floors throwing her used tissues down. She frowned at the sight of her bedroom because they’d decorated it together, each wall holding a treasure collected at the local art festivals. She sniffed as she walked around her bed near the corner where the wedding keepsakes had been put; her marriage tossed in a box. She picked up the pink basket that he’d made for her and again the tears poured out. Then she remembered  what her daughter had recently told her, “Mom, I’ll keep your wedding pictures with me.” And that thought caused the upper part of her body to collapse onto his side of the bed in a mixture of both anger and anguish. She grabbed at the sheets to use them to wipe her tears. They had created three beautiful, compassionate children who were willing to care for them both despite the tear that divorce would do in their own lives.

She moaned and loathed the sound of it. The moan or groan had come from deep within and she let it out, but the sound of it caused her to force herself to stop. Divorce, there was no other alternative, she thought, she tried everything, but nothing had worked and both of them tired of the fight to stay together. There was nothing left to save.

Resigned to a new reality, she stopped crying, and listened for any movement in the basement and heard nothing. “Figures” she thought. He’s really finished with us.”  Not wanting to hear any more of her groans, she decided to go to bed. She took melatonin to help her ease into sleep. And as she settled into the quiet, she heard a voice say, “Go touch him” and she stirred in bed and said, “What? Lord? We have not even greeted each other or looked at each other. Why would I do that?” After questioning the voice, she tried to settle into sleep and forced herself to close her eyes, but though exhausted, sleep refused to overtake her. Instead, she heard again, “Go touch him” To which she turned onto her back and looked at the darkness of the ceiling. Instead of questioning the voice, she fought with the blankets while her mind envisioned herself first walking down the steps and then opening the door. It seemed simple enough, but “then what?” she pondered, “All you need to do is touch him.” “Really Lord?” she countered.

She turned to hug her pillow, but her lids were wide open and her mind active. “Just touch him” and she thought, “Well, I guess”, but instead, she recalled her husband’s stoic face. She’d no longer found comfort in the blue of his eyes, but instead she swore they changed color from a sea blue to an icy teal. Touching him right now would put her in a vulnerable position and  the possibility of rejection was more than she could bear tonight, but still the voice insisted, “Go touch him” and she blew out a sigh of frustration.

Afterwards, she threw back her covers and knew that as soon as she got out of bed that she wouldn’t return until she touched him and so, with that, she saw herself get out of bed and begin the long walk towards the basement stairs. The house was dark and her steps creaked the floor beneath her. When she reached the stairs, she took a deep breath before descending. She listened for any sound, but heard nothing. She reached the door and knocked gently hoping he didn’t answer and he didn’t, but the voice persisted, “Just a touch”. So, knowing she’d come this far, she turned the knob and found him asleep on the couch. He hadn’t heard her knock, so she stared at him sleeping for a short time before she walked toward the edge of the bed. Awkwardly, she sat as far from him, and reached out to touch his back. He didn’t stir until she began to rub his back and that’s when he woke in a startle. He sat up, stared at her and asked, “What are you doing?” To which she answered nervously, “I-I’m just touching you, that’s what I’m supposed to do. Go back to sleep, j-just let me rub your back.” And he sat and said, “I don’t understand what you’re doing.” Lifting her hand and biting her lip, she rose from the bed and quietly said, “I don’t know either.” She started to leave and turned towards the door and she heard him say, “Wait” and she stopped and turned around slowly and then he said, “It’s okay.” Hearing him say it was okay gave her the courage to step back towards him and grab his hand and gently squeeze it and as she brought it to her mouth and then her forehead, she said, “I’m so sorry.”

He took in her words and her touch and brought her close to his chest. She was weeping freely now into his chest. The ache in his heart caused him to hold her closely and suddenly he found himself overcome with desire for his repentant wife. He raised up her face to his and he kissed her hungrily and she responded to him. They wept together and continued to hold each other.

They held each other tightly all night and vowed to never let go. Ever again.

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