• Vol. 08
  • Chapter 04

What You Give Away

Knowing her was like learning a language without really trying. As if she'd whispered into my ear one night when I was asleep, laying out her vocabulary, and nerve endings, her exceptions to the rules. The tiniest inclinations around her eyes, the way one hand sat flat on top of the other, the number of taps from finger to thumb, I could translate them. Some of these might have seemed universal, but they were specific. Like mine, too. That arched brow – a monument in its own right. I saw it in her reaction, when another tourist shared some racy details of the residents of Pompeii before adding their own. Or when, at the cocktail place, they were over-ostentatious with the flaring, sending mint sprigs flying. The silent speech, making shapes of the air, rounding my thoughts, as I pressed into hers like clay, each of us exposing each other's bones.