Maia Nebula!

The world is sick, but my smile is intact.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Her Morning Ritual

They sleep right on the floor. At least that's how the futon has come to feel now that it's old and flat. The alarm goes off at 6:15. He moans and twitches his mouth, trying to cling to the last bits of slumber, but when he feels her waist shifting under his arm, he has no option but to open his eyes and watch. Her getting up is a slow progression of body parts emerging bit by bit from a familiar underworld. Her left hand rubs her face rather violently and then brushes back her ruffled hair. A sudden jerk pulls her torso up like a puppet that's been suddenly picked up from the bottom of a chest. The subtle muscles in her arms bulge tensely under her weight. Her arched back plays tug-of-war against tiredness until her head falls forward. Now her breasts droop over the folds of her belly. Sometimes —when she lies on her back, for instance— they look like perfect domes made of pudding. He loves their malleability, how soft their skin feels—but wait, she is already hurling herself up and stumbling dizzily into the day. From here he can see the stubble on her legs. If he looked up, he would be able to catch a glimpse of cellulite dimples up her shorts. One step, then another, and she's gone.

When she sleeps, all wrinkles and bulges are smoothed down, safely concealed under the covers. He runs his hand down her back and tries to explain to himself how the fragility of this hidden topography becomes a revelation of strength every morning. She's never given a thought to those first minutes of her waking life, but as soon as she disappears it becomes clear that he can't wait for the next day to watch the spectacle all over again.


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