How long does this last? he wondered, spreading his broad hand across her belly. Inside his head, he heard her reply, closer than his own thoughts, As long as you want it to, and she looked at him with that unspoken answer in her smile.
It was dusk by the time they set out through the backyard for the short walk into town. The Windsock was lit up like a Christmas parade even though it was the end of summer. When she was a child, she had been allowed to open one gift on the Eve. This early September evening had all the feeling of December 24th and Anna was aglow with it.
For a weekday night with no ball game on TV, there were a lot of cars in the parking lot. As they walked in the front door and there were two loud, hollow pops, Billy opening two bottles of champagne in quick succession, Goldy splashing the liquid over two round trays of shot glasses. Friends and neighbors, traveling strangers crowded the bar for their glasses. Billy passed a tequila sunrise to Anna and draft beer to Jack raised his glass dramatically and said,
“To the power of love.” Everyone cheered and drank.
“Stop, stop, don’t make me cry. God, I wish Tam and Murph were here,” Anna said. Jack whispered something in Goldy’s ear and she scuttled to the jukebox, plugged in coins and pushed buttons. At the sound of the hiss of the tired needle finding the groove on the worn record, he took Anna’s drink, set it on the bar and said, “May I have this dance?” The three opening guitar chords of “I Only Have Eyes for You” by the Flamingos floated around them as they moved out onto the floor. Billy muttered to Goldy. “Did you pick that?” She leaned back against the bar watching Jack lead Anna into an intimate tango that left no room for the Holy Ghost.
“Nope. He asked for it.” Billy refilled the shot glasses from the second bottle of champagne, knocked it back and said, “I can’t decide if it’s sick or perfect.” Goldy watched the couple through the smoke of her cigarette. “A little of both, I think.”
This, from last August.... It's important I keep my finger on this pulse as I revise. It's taken a while, but I've discovered the theme of my book is touch and connections. I'm not sure how knowing theme matters when the thing is already manifested. I sure didn't think about it going in. Themes are funny things.They sneak in over time and one day, you flip back a shutter and there it is, a sleeping bat clinging to the wall, it's eyes scrunched shut and muttering "Good. She can't see me."
Not much of a reach for a stitcher, this tactile thing. There's just no denying it.