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Question and Answer – Fragment #68

They lie entwined, the sheet drawn lightly over their bare skin. Inky purplish twilight creeps quietly into the room reminding Hilary that they haven’t eaten since noon. She contently nestles in the silence, listening to Stephen’s heart beating in one ear, and his even breathing in her other.

Shifting her head slightly, so she’s looking into his eyes, she asks, “What are you thinking?”

The purple light deepens, conjuring shadows out of thin air. She suspects he’s not going to answer and that’s all right.

Then Stephen leans into her and whispers seductively, “Hemorrhoids. I’m thinking about how much they hurt.”

She remains uncertain for many heartbeats, trying to get past the realization there is something she does not know about him; trying to formulate an adequate reply. Before she has a chance to speak, she hears him chuckle as he shifts onto his back. “I was just joking.”

But now, as in an overhead movie shot, the space between them is noticeable and he has more than his share of the sheet.

“Well, then,” she remarks neutrally as possible, squelching her anger, as she slides off the bed and puts on her pale pink silk robe. “I know what to get you for Christmas; one of this special donut cushions. A red one I think.”

Before she leaves the room, she looks down at him. He’s laughing out loud by now, rolling around on the bed like a dog scratching its back in tall grass.

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