She edged into the kitchen with her cane held out in front of her. The counter was coming up to her right…right…about…now. Yep, there it was. She switched the cane into her left hand and slide her right hand along the edge of the counter, until it turned a corner.
The floor creaked behind her. She whirled around, brandishing her cane like a weapon–but the scent of cinnamon and autumn relaxed her. It was just him. She felt him reach toward her and stepped away so the backs of her thighs hit the counter.
“Don’t touch me!” Not wanting him to think she was still angry from before, she softened her tone to say, “I need to learn this for myself.”
Turning back around, she searched the air with her hands and felt his close over hers from behind. His stomach pressed warmly against her back. The cane clattered out of her hand and to her feet–so loudly that she cringed.
“Muscle memory,” he said softly. His breath rustled her hair right at the roots. “I’m just showing you where it is so your body can remember it.”
He guided her hand to the rough wood and had her pull it open. He wrapped her fingers around a cold glass. Taking her other hand, he had her lift the pitcher of water and pour it into her glass. She felt the glass give slightly in her hand and tightened her grip so it wouldn’t fall.
As she did that, he let go of her and moved away so quickly that it felt like he’d just dissolved away from her. It left her suddenly cold, and she hated that she wanted him to come back.
Asking him to come back meant admitting why she was so afraid. It wasn’t just the desire to be strong and self-sufficient, no matter what senses she still held onto, but it was the broken memories of him. She knew the color of his eyes and his hair, the shape of his nose, the curve of his lips. What she could not longer do was put them together in her into a cohesive whole. Her mental picture of him had become a Picasso painting, and it was suffocating because she didn’t know if she would ever be able to resolve that in her mind and see him as he was.
Sometimes she would still try to open her eyes in the morning and then realize they were already open. She started to feel claustrophobic and clawed for the light switch or the door but there was neither. There was neither because she was stuck inside an unending darkness and no matter how suffocated or claustrophobic she felt or how many panic attacks she had, there was no cure.
Now when she turned her face to the sun, she felt its warmth on her face, but she could no longer see the red glow of the sunlight through her eyelids.
And the only thing that really helped to ease the panic welling in her chest was his touch. It was the only way she could feel better, and she hated it because she didn’t want to rely on anyone–least of all a man. She’d raised to be a strong, independent woman, and here she was wavering at man’s touch.
In the end, he was never the one she was angry with.
Snippet Saturday is my chance to share bits and pieces of my writing.