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Still Life with Husbandby Lauren Fox
In the middle of the night I don’t know who he is, this man lying next to me, his leg brushing against my leg, arm draped over my hip. And that’s when I want him. I keep my eyes closed and turn toward him, stroking him softly, fingers skimming over his chest, his thighs, feathery touches light enough to wake up just the parts that matter. He responds, and we both know what to do, how not to talk, not even to whisper, letting our bodies move together in the dark. This is a man I picked up in a bar; this is a man whose name I don’t know; this is searing, anonymous sex with a stranger, and I’m using all of my senses and none of my heart. He rolls on top of me, heavy and hard, not kissing, hot hands all over me. I grab a condom from my night table and hand it to him.
“Emily,” he whispers, crashing rudely into my dream, breaking the rules of 2:00 a.m. sex. “Please?”
“No,” I say, my eyes still closed, arching toward him now in spite of myself. “Shhh.” I know what he wants, and I’m not prepared to give it to him.
“Baby,” he breathes, and I open my eyes to the face of my husband hovering over mine, earnest and needy, the man I have known since college, the man I share a bathroom with, the man who cried during Little Women, who thinks I don’t know that he plucks his nose hairs, who’s afraid of raisins because they remind him of mouse droppings. “Baby,” he whispers again, and I sigh, fully here now, fully awake and resigned to it. And this is how we finish, knowing everything about each other, completely together, naked and silent and half-satisfied in the middle of the night.Copyright © 2007 by Lauren Fox
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