{Writing time: 7 minutes}

X is for Xanadu

He thinks she wants perfection, but she just wants peace. The sound of water to the shore, the echoed call of birds across the skyline. Or maybe not peace. Truth. The way the world sounds and smells. The drift of his hair across his face when he’s working, the lap of his tongue to the edge of a glass, the streaks of silver in the bottoms of his blue irises. The tick-tick of his feet as he pushes off the wooden porch, the rocking chair banging the wall.

“It’s good here,” he says “Isn’t it?”

She nods. It is good here. And to say too much would ruin it, would dig deep beneath the things they hold between them, invisible unsung strings between two cans, the reverberations a hundred years and the game of telephone that makes it impossible to hear what the other’s really saying anymore.

He looks out over the water. He hasn’t shaved in days, and she can almost remember the feel of stubble when he pushed his chin into her throat.

The ocean says tomorrow is the same as today is the same as the day you die. And she knows this to be true.

The creak of his chair says he wants to be, for her, something that he cannot. She knows this to be true too. And she knows that he cannot do this thing he wishes, and in the morning she will set him free. She has waited to look for peace, and here it is, holding her to this porch and this evening and the orange-cold of the waves as they wash away the edge of the world.

The ring on her finger is the same color as the setting sun. When she holds it to the sky, it shimmers briefly, a glimpse of light, and then it is swallowed by the sky.

***

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Gorgeous image by this artist

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