2 Replies to “6.23.2013 Journal Prompt”

  1. It looked like dancing. The way he held onto her; the way she held onto him. No music was playing in the library, but they swayed in rhythm, moving together as one, and so it looked like dancing. Ursula was unsteady on her feet and he had to support her from her wheelchair to a comfortable seat by the fire and he placed a familiar book in her lap so that when she had recovered her breath there was something to read.

    And it looked like conversation when, later in the morning, Harold talked of the weather and how the garden was doing now that the spring was with them. And he told her what was in the news and what the gossip was in the town and what was for planned dinner. It looked like conversation, though all the words were his and Ursula did not lift her head from her book or nod or show that she had heard.

    And it looked like there was nothing wrong, the two of them sitting at table and it was the dinner he’d told her about and it was evening. She was allowed a little red wine for the newspapers had said it was good for the heart if it was only one glass. And though Harold had cut up her meat, as a parent does for a child, she was able to lift the fork to her mouth herself; and so it looked like there was nothing wrong when everything was.

    And as the day drew to a close and night crept into all the corners of the house, Harold got her to her unsteady feet again and he undressed her for bed, slow and gentle. And, with a damp cloth and a bowl of soapy water, he wiped her back, caressing and caressing the skin, and her sagging breasts and under her arms and over the pelvic cradle and between her legs, between her toes – well, then it looked like sex but it was not.

    Then at last, lying together in the one bed, and it was dark, as dark as the insides of cupboards with the doors closed; and the creak and groan of the settling house was all the sound that there was, that and the softest rattle in her breath, in his breath; and Harold kissed her dry lips and he said her name; and she took his hand in hers, her gossamer touch and her fingers stroking; and it looked like love and it was love, and there were tears in his eyes even as sleep overtook him and tears in her eyes as she watched him sleep. And Ursula said she was sorry, her words all whisper and sigh, but she never said what she was sorry for and Harold never heard anyway.

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