“Hey,” She says, and I can see the smile in her eyes, the light in the depths of a gaze the color of cobalt glass. Her smile softens a little as she turns back to her work, concentration taking over, mind and soul mingling to guide hand and paintbrush across canvas. I smile reflexively, in love with her drive, her dedication. Fifteen minutes ago, she had stood where I stand now, tired from a day at work, but revitalized at the sight of her canvas, her paints, the cool touch of familiar home. A heap of discarded clothing crouches outside the door of the bedroom, the leavings of the day, hurriedly exchanged for the color-touched tanktop and shorts she wears when she paints.

“What are you working on?” I ask, and she looks up again, grins before she disappears back into the paint, the canvas.

“A family photograph for a client.” She says. “Come here, tell me what you think.”

Setting down my bag, I smile as I cross the floor between us and slide in behind her, hands meeting, arms sliding into place across her waist. “Looks great.” I say, and the words come naturally, a true reflection of the skill she puts into an arena of art I could never grasp or understand. She smiles, closes her eyes as I playfully nuzzle her neck, breathe in the sweet scent there. She sinks into me, whole body loose and soft in my arms. “Their kids are pretty cute.” I say, and she chuckles in response.

“Yeah.” She says, and the smile that slips across her lips is sharper, almost conspiratorial. Moving within my arms, she turns toward me, and the midnight edges of her wild, brutally short hair caress my cheek as she moves. Our eyes lock for a moment as her hands trace lines across my back, meet somewhere behind me, and then our lips touch, and I breathe in the sweet, cool air. To me, she tastes like rain, jasmine, and her scent reminds me of heavy clouds, of rainy breezes that tickle the skin between storms. When the kiss ends, she smiles again, and we breathe shivering, sensual exhales before we touch again, hold one another, connecting silently, gratefully. Moments later, we turn as one to look at her work again, and she says: “They are cute, aren’t they?”

Later, we’re singing opera in the shower, a little piece we’ve practiced and learned specifically for this moment, something from her childhood. We laugh as we forget parts, key sequences, picking up the lines that the other blurs through. Time passes as we move from song to song, old favorites, things and bits from movies and games and memory that linger on in our minds and hearts. Holding each other here, enshrined in the cool cascade of water, there is no fear, no inhibition– the outside world no longer exists for us, only a body and soul that blurs vaguely into two.

That night, as I stare at a half finished page, fingers tapping across well worn keys, I hear the soulful notes of an alto saxophone on the porch as it rises above the quiet, ambient strains tumbling from the radio. I pause, listening, lingering on the rise and fall of that more distant tune as my fingers find the knob and silence the radio, leave only the sound of the sax to hang softly in the night. I smile at the sound of her playing, the passion she has for her art, and as I stand and push aside the chair, she pushes into something gentler, something that reminds me of rain. The boards of the house creak beneath my feet as I cross to her, sit silently behind her and wrap my arms around her waist as she plays. The tempo rises, becomes stronger and more complex as she leans into me again, back against my chest, head coming to rest on my shoulder. I smile again, gently kiss her hair as she finishes.

“Hey,” She says, curling into me, smiling contentedly. “I’m not bothering you, am I?”

“Never.” I smile, and gently move an edge of hair out of her eyes. “Play on.”

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