She sees me. Or she sees right through me. She looks at me and I can feel when she does it with any real effort, because my heart lurches like some Dickensian pickpocket just made in a crowded bazaar. She knows something about me, something quiet that I betray in my sleep. And she is happy to know, because she feels privy to some sort of inner truth about me that she feels we are to secret away from the world in some grander fashion than our relative arrangement would allow (or warrant). She looks at me with all the carefully planned desire of a child before an ocean shore, and periodically away with all the sunken disdain of a shipwrecked sailor.
She lies against me, wearing my chest like an autumn cloak; my legs like sodden greaves. She brings comfort on a level, or finds it, although there is something incongruous in the way we fit together. Something acceptable yet quietly jarring, like the smell of a well-prepared meal at a funeral. I find myself unable to touch her with any real affection, though I drape myself along the contours of her hips with enough presence to provide at least the physical security the moment calls for (regardless of where it may be anchored). She sleeps uneasily, fitfully, though careful not to stir so violently as to shuffle me loose. I balk quietly at the shallow warmth of my flesh belying the winter in my veins. She could slink silently, permanently away into the night, and only one of us would feel the difference.
Gregory Novak is a Toronto-born Calgary writer currently at work on his first novel. His blog is here.