It was past his bedtime, an hour past. He couldn’t sleep. His chest ached for want of Her.
They had made a considered decision: His business was flagging and needed Him to make it a priority. He would spend less time with Her and more focusing on His business. They knew it meant the weeks of living together would be put on pause, but in the long run it would mean He could move to Her city.
They had now been apart for most of a month.
Tonight He longed for Her. He longed for Her in a way that transcended sex. For the last couple weeks porn had lost any appeal. He didn’t want sex, He wanted Her. All of Her. The intimacy. Making love. The holding after. Waking up together the next day. The Knowing.
Tonight the emptiness of His arms screamed loud.
He pulled a pillow into His chest and willed it to become Her.
He liked to call Her “My Tall Girl.”
He loved Her length, stretched out next to Him on the bed, duvet kicked aside in heat. His eyes followed Her lines, from Her manicured toes, over Her long legs, Her torso, breasts, neck to face. Her body was art to Him.
He would touch Her with a religious reverence, and She withheld no part of herself from Him. He had never touched anyone the way He touched Her. Sensual, loving. Worshiping Her lines with His hands.
She responded in kind. Closing Her eyes in pleasure as He rubbed Her feet and legs, snuggling against Him once He was done. Caressing His chest with Her hand while lying on His shoulder. He had never been touched by anyone the way She touched Him.
This weekend they were apart. He pretended to work, but today He was mind was distracted…
…by His Tall Girl.
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The plan was for Him to come down Friday for the holiday weekend. She had been at a conference and out of touch, coming home in the late hours of Wednesday. He thought She would need an evening alone to recuperate before He arrived.
He had missed Her. They had been spending the vast majority of nights together, but it seemed to make Him miss Her more rather than less. They had been apart less than a week and His chest ached for the feel of Her pressed into Him.
Her text surprised Him:
Her: When are you coming? I feel a coma coming on. I miss you. 12:12 PM
Him: I’m sure you need one. I can come any time. Up to you. I have to go home Tue morning kinda no matter what. 12:15 PM
Her: Why? 12:15 PM
Him: I miss you as well, for the record. 12:15 PM
Him: I have a kinda huge week next week. 12:16 PM
Her: You’ve used kinda twice now 12:19 PM
Him: Kinda. It’s my Hordor 12:19 PM
Her: Will coming tomorrow be better? 12:19 PM
Him: Are you asking me to come today? 12:19 PM
Her: I have to work – 230 meeting then I hope to be out. 12:20 PM
Him: You’re great at indirect answers 12:20 PM
Her: Kinda. But really I just want you here for selfish reasons. I need to curl up. 12:21 PM
Him: Geez. I hate that. You’re so demanding. 12:21 PM
Him: Let me get back to you. I would love to come today, but I need to think it thru 12:22 PM
Him: I’ll let you know before 2:30. 12:22 PM
Her: Okay but don’t stress yourself 12:33 PM
Him: Thinking about seeing you is never stress. 12:34 PM
Him: You know how you like to tell me you love me when you are really feeling it? Yeah, I love you always but especially right now. 12:36 PM
Her: ❤️ I love you too right now… Can’t commit to tomorrow… 12:38 PM
Him: Of course not. 12:39 PM
So Thursday evening He drove the 100 miles to Her’s. When He arrived He pushed Her against the wall and kissed Her deeply.
Then again, more passionately.
He liked her lines.
When they were in bed together, in the mornings between waking and leaving the bed, He would trace Her lines with His finger. Her shoulder, Her neck, Her forehead. The path from shoulder to waist to hips.
Across the table He enjoyed tracing Her lines with His eyes. It gave him joy to observe the gentle curve of her jaw, the long lines of her legs.
He wanted to draw Her.
He had been practicing for some months sketching off and on, but His skill was far from adequate to capture the powerful emotions that Her lines evoked in Him.
She was travelling for the next week. He took the time apart to revisit His art.
His attempts today were once again poor, but there was still a joy in it. As He drew each line, lines His finger had traced hundreds of times, He could feel Her in the pencil. Imperfect, but perfect for today.
He needed to move her body.
The thought had plagued him for two weeks now. Two weeks since she had him over for a nightcap after the movie. Two weeks since she had laughed at his fumbling sexual advance. Two weeks since he had choked the laughter out of her as he watched her eyes pale.
It took longer than he expected. His hands still remembered the ache. She should have known better than to disrespect him. To make him angry like that.
Now she was just a body. And a problem.
Once his rage subsided, he devised an emergency plan. While he had plotted and planned killing often – usually for his stories – this had not been premeditated and he had no plan.
He unscrewed the light in the garage, opened the door. Nobody around at 2am. The trees made it hard to see from the road anyway. He backed into the garage. She only weighed 120, so putting her in the trunk was not a problem. He placed her on the plastic she used for a dropcloth and took the shovel that was hanging on the wall.
No blood, strangling works well for that.
Funny, her eyes were still open and the whites turned to grey. He’d have to remember that detail for his stories. They never showed that in the movies.
A month ago he made a random stop at the rest area on I-75. Too much Gatorade. He had noticed a wooded area adjacent. “Perfect body dump” he thought. “No one goes back there.” The gate was unlocked.
It was after 3am when he backed into the space. He wrapped the body, looked for witnesses and quickly moved it inside the gate.
The soil was clay. It was hard to dig and he was covered in it. He only buried her a few feet down, doubled over. Rigor hadn’t yet set it, thank God. He left it unwrapped so the decay would happen quickly. He hastily covered it with clay and leaves.
Then he was gone.
But for two weeks now, the body had occupied his fears. It wasn’t deep enough. Anyone could walk a dog or find the gate and woods a curiosity. He imagined some tourist from Madison, Wisconsin taking their toy poodle for a walk and finding it.
Every day he scoured the news to see if a body had been discovered. None. The stench would likely be strong now. Damn. Someone was sure to find it.
“But what would they find?” he argued with himself. “A dead woman. They would link it to her missing person report. No ties to you in any way. You used a fake name even in your profile.”
Still the thoughts nagged.
He decided he had to do it. He bought lye. He found a secluded spot 100 feet from a logging access road in the mountains and dug a proper grave. It took him all night.
The next night, strengthened by a fifth of bourbon, he drove to the rest area. At 3am it was deserted. He moved quickly through the gate and found the gravesite.
She was special.
She wasn’t perfect, neither was He. He knew and accepted She was appropriately flawed. He was as well. But maybe special meant someone whose flaws somehow matched up with your own. You could both accept and even appreciate the flaws. Maybe the flaws made special even better than perfect.
She was certainly special.
He had never met someone so complicated. Determined, smart, funny, introverted, stubborn. Somehow even the things She saw as Her flaws endeared Her to Him.
It was confusing and made no sense and was…perfect.
He wanted someone strong. Stubborn. Self-directed and self-determined. Even He had to rise to the occasion. He respected Her. He admired Her. He adored Her.
She piloted Her own ship. The most He could hope for with Her was to be at Her side – not directing Her, not “telling” Her, but occasionally advising and encouraging Her on Her voyage.
Partnership not dictatorship.
Monday night they had done the mundane. He sanded discarded furniture She would eventually paint while She walked the infinity of the treadmill. And it was wonderful for both of them. Somehow even the mundane took on a special magic when they were together.
Tuesday night they had navigated together the improving relationship with his son and his growing pains. She advised. She encouraged.
Tuesday He left to return to his ramshackle. He had work to do and tarried a little to long at Suess. But tonight, after they had texted and said their “LYB”‘s, He missed Her. Retiring to His fresh bed, complete with linens he had laundered at Her’s with Her special scent, seemed empty. He wanted to be holding her, feeling her, hearing her occasional half-snore that woke both.
He had spent more nights at Her’s in the last month than at His.
He was encouraged thinking about the weekend, and how they would be together again. He needed once again to savor Her, explore Her, experience Her, truly “see” her. It was His joy.
This time, He broke up.
He had taken his time. Waited. Waited to figure out if She was going to be all-in. Waited to see if She would impose Her own curfew. 3 months.
Of course in waiting, judging, evaluating there is always a danger. Reading into action or inaction. Misinterpretation.
Miscalculations leading to pain. Pain leading to stagnation.
But He had decided. The pain needed to end. The lashing out needed to end. They needed to end.
He spent Saturday morning crafting and discarding emails. Looking for words. He wasn’t angry or hurt, He just wanted it to be over. To be as painless for both of them as possible.
His email to her was not eloquent. They both hurt each other, this needed to stop. He loved her, but neither needed the hurt.
He asked her to call. To talk. To put it to rest. She replied she couldn’t until evening. He, not being patient and wanting to just finalize, sent Her another, longer, more eloquent, more caring email. Loving her still, but believing They still must be done.
Later, she responded. By text. “I love you. I’m losing my boyfriend and the only one I want to comfort me is you. Come up.”
The words caught him off guard. He didn’t know She still loved. He didn’t know He was Her “boyfriend” – that was a level of relationship He assumed They left in May. What about the Others?
He drove to her Sunday. Confusion. Elation. Not having a plan.
Sunday, they talked. Openly. There were no Others in her life. But there was an issue. A reason She had seemed more distant. A reason She withheld words of care for him, A reason she had fought to not love him.
A reason she had never shared but loomed large in her mind.
Embarrassed and fearful of His reaction, She finally shared. If They were to go on, if She were going to be “all in”, if they were to move toward a life together, He had to make a change.
Surprisingly for both of them, He was not upset nor even surprised. He understood. It was a reason He had assumed had been there all along – even from one of their first texts. “Not everything is Porsches and rainbows, my life is messy right now.” He had known and been working to de-mess his life.
He had not made much progress. It scared her, rightfully so. A future meant something. She couldn’t tolerate a future of fear, of uncertainty.
He got that.
He would try. Willing to take new paths – or at least consider them. Willing to put His life together for Himself but open to Her gaze. She needed movement. That’s all She asked, to see.
He could provide. He already had to fix the problems in His life, and letting Her see wasn’t an issue.
He asked for change from Her as well. He wasn’t sure how She would react. He thought She would refuse to try, say it was just the way She is. “Sorry ’bout cha.”
But She didn’t. She was open and affirming and caring. She wanted to go on, try, make this work if it was going to work.
She wanted Him in Her life. He wanted Her.
Aphrodite is cruel and fickle. She gives us love, but always with pain. Fear. “But what if..?”
That night, as they lay together entwined, She said “I wish this was enough.” He wished it too, but He also knew They could do this. He could fix; She could attend.
He left hopeful for “a better…“