Recovered Short

He approached the porch quietly. For a second he paused, shifted his bag & bouquet to his other hand then, reached in the planter for the spare key. The metal felt cool between his warm fingers, body temperature raised in anticipation. Metal on metal, the key was in the lock, but engaged almost silently and turned with quiet deliberation. The door gave and he exhaled.

His presence on her porch wouldn’t alert anyone. He’d been on it several times before. He’d stood there waiting for her to answer the door, always conscious of going to call on her instead of honking from the car. His parents had raised him better than that. He’d stood there with her, eyes boring deep into hers as he listened intently and with great fascination as she spoke on one of the many things that she, and now he, was passionate about. The sound of her voice was rich and full flavored like he’d heard coffee was; but he didn’t drink the stuff. He’d sat on this porch, lazing in the partial shade with her, holding her hand and caressing her pinky finger. He’d sat here and massaged her scalp, taking care not to disturb the roots of her tightly twisted locs, while also taking care to make sure he could hear her barely audible signs of relaxation. His presence here would alarm no one.

He pushed the door a little bit, listening for the creak. It didn’t come; he proceeded. Inside, he rested lightly against the door, bringing door and jamb back together as one. Tightly sealed. His bag slipped with ease from his hand and the bouquet, already free of plastic, was placed on top. She would see them later. Her car was parked in its usual space out front, but there were no signs of her presence. This time of day usually found her quiet, searching for the next inspiration for her work or quieting the voices of those she worked with. It was spring and he was without a jacket. The top button on his shirt was still done; he’d raced away from the conference table quickly without taking a moment to shake the mental load. More important things were on his mind. By the time he’d gotten to the 3rd button he realized he wasn’t just loosening up, he was removing. Shirt off, belt unbuckled, top button open. He breathed.

Surprise was the name of the game but he’d already started across the living room floor before he’d realized that his shoes were still on. Customarily, everyone took their shoes off at her front door. In his great need to smell the nape of her neck and watch her back arch, he’d forgotten. Too late. He tip-toed, wood sole on wood floors, and hoped he wouldn’t disturb her. As he passed through her shotgun starter home he glanced into her office to see if she was sitting in repose at the computer. No. He tipped further down the hall, noticed the bathroom door was open and she wasn’t luxuriating in the tub. Eventually, he thought, he’d make sure she wound up there. He arrived at her bedroom door and found her stretched diagonally across the bed, bare feet facing the door.

An eternity passed as he stood there and watched the rise and fall of her breathing. Her breath was a sound he loved, confirming her existence in his life. He admired the soft curvature of her form. Starting at her feet, he smiled at how her ankles crossed daintily and then rose at a slow incline up her runner’s calves. He dipped at the backs of her knees, a place he’d loved to kiss, and then raced up her thighs with his eyes. Those thighs had held him tightly, battling her hugs for his favorite embrace, and loved him back to life. Her thighs extended into that high arc, more pronounced than the McDonald’s arches, and far more delectable than anything on that tired, unchanging menu. He climbed that slope and slid down the other side, landing in the small of her back. Here his head had rested many times as they talked, or didn’t, about the eventual joining of their lives. The valley over her spine that ran between her shoulder blades invited him to complete his visual journey and be present and accounted for at the nape of her neck. He’d been dreaming of it all day. With her hair often down, he didn’t get to see it much and the thought of it teased him. It was where her natural essence rested and called out to him.

Creeping ever so slowly into the room, he found himself at the foot of the bed, a hair away from her resting body. He went to bend over, just as slowly as the rest of his movements had been, to untie his shoes. In sleepy seduction, she said, “I’ve been waiting for you. Keep your shoes on.”

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