Early in the morning on the second of nine days in a row, a narrow play of moonlight, slotted through a blind, slashed the woman’s torso from just above the navel to just below her right eye. The gentle swell and roll of that terrain in those last few hours before the gray dragged in the wider light mesmerized him.
He’d been away too long and now, upon his return, he found it hard to put aside the wariness that had served him so well on his journeys. Out in the world, he had often forgone sleep for days, his vigilance buying another day’s breath, another night of breathing crisp air in someone else’s homeland. Now, if slept at all most nights, he slept little and lightly. Each fold or rustle of linen on linen, each rumor of a breeze though the greenery surrounding even this small grove’s cottage sang him awake with what to most people would be a siren call to rest, but to him was a call to illogical arms.
Now he sat and watched her sleep. He knew it would be like this forever: she, dreaming in airy tides of scented linen, and he, lying beside her, assessing the roll of the sea and the measure of the beach, glad to be at rest, somewhat, at last on her shore.