3

Time moved slowly then, and the seasons changed.  The sun, no longer awake when they rose, also set before they returned home in the evening.  It always gives that particular time of a year such a feeling of nostalgia, tension, imprisonment.  At least, this is what she always thought.  It was for him though, the time of year where he could finally be productive.  He was writing more now, and as the days get colder, shorter — the less he wants to be outside the more he feels like he can accomplish.  He was at home, somehow, in this very narrow time of year that, for others, was unbearable.  For him, it was necessary.  It was necessary to have seasons, to feel the change throughout the year.  It reminded him that he too changes, or should, or can.  She just let him write, let him read and she continued to bake, cook and go for long walks.  She still craved the outdoors, to feel the wind on her cheeks, her hands cracking in the dry air, her ankles exposed on those days that look warm, but really aren’t at all.
Sometimes, during this time of year, on those nights of supreme togetherness, of the utmost compassion for each other, laying on the bed for hours on end, listing to music, looking, thinking.  Realizations, or perhaps, even those little questions that always get them in trouble seem to pop up.  Not tonight though.  He got home and there she was in the kitchen making something new for a dinner party they were invited too.  Increasingly, he thought, we are getting a reputation for bringing such good food that we will eventually disappoint the guests sometime with a dish that lacks taste, depth, inspiration.  He loved coming home to this type of situation, this scene that plays over in his head on his walk back from the metro stop.  It is there, always looming, and he knows that when he opens the door and his mind is correct in its assumptions about the waiting scene, that it will be a good night.

She was so frustrated with cooking tonight.  So tired of dinner parties, of dinner in general.  Drinking her way through the recipe with a dose of red wine here and there, she thought she would be able to finish it early, and have time for a nap, a walk, or even just a short bath to let loose some of this, this inner turmoil that was breeding inside her all day.  Earlier, when she was out for a coffee with the new book she picked up last week, she just had this moment of selfishness, and then, sensibility.  This book she thought, is seeing right through me, the words are eating me up, I’m completly consumed, enthralled, tied-in to this story that I can’t think about my own life right now.

She stopped again, to contemplate a particular passage that moved her, challenged her so deeply, that her walk home was in a fog, a haze of mental energy.  So here she was now, back in the kitchen, that moment from the afternoon still stuck in the back of her mind — she hoped the wine would help her release it, but instead it stayed, locked into her subconscious.  Was he talking to me?  What did he just say?

He got in the shower to wash off the dirt of the day.  He hated going to parties when he felt dirty.  Sometimes, when she cooks bacon, he can’t even stand to be in the apartment because the smell permeates everything — his clothes, his skin, his hair.  It is all he can do to not throw up each time.  Luckily it isn’t a normal habit of hers.  She knew he hated the smell of it.  Lingering, perhaps a bit long in the shower, he realized that they were normally late to parties.  Most of the time, he didn’t care so much, because the people they were going to see didn’t matter to him – even though he needed the social atmosphere to somehow manage his own life and thoughts, he didn’t necessarily need certain people to be there.  He’d grown really tired of the same group of friends – and craved a change.

He changed into something casual yet non-casual, and she put on her favorite outfit (of course, he thought).  Whatever it was she was making turned out, as expected by both of them, absolutely perfect, but would not be admired as much by their friends as they hoped.  They left, food in one hand, wine in the other, empty hands intertwined.  Ready, they both thought separately but at the same time, I can do this.

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