Anita's Haven

books, thoughts, stories, poetry, interviews, writing

Real love every day

on 14/02/2018

As promised, two of my favourite scenes of real, daily love between two married couples from The Forest of Trees – the Bosworths and the Stones. Both scenes take place during sleepless nights, filled with worry.

Intimacy is never (just) the physical thing. Love is in the small, everyday details which should never be taken for granted…

The Bosworths

The bed sheets were soaked in sweat and already cold, as John Bosworth kept tossing and turning, uncovering himself to cool down, then covering himself back hoping to get some sleep. He felt around the bed and realized it was empty, empty, so he opened his eyes, finally giving in to insomnia.
In a huge armchair close to the door, his wife’s face glowed in lamplight, as she sat wrapped in a fuzzy patchwork blanket.
He looked at her with worry and love.
She was deeply concentrated. Seeing her leather-bound diary in her hands, he knew she must have had a bad day at work. Although he loved to joke that their jobs were alike, she a psychologist and he a principal, he knew that the number of good days was in his favour.
“Zoe, do you want to talk?” he whispered.
She didn’t reply, and he noticed how firmly she held her pen and how she tightened her lips. For both selfish and generous reasons, he loved the fact that she had her diary ritual to blow off steam and cry or shout things into words. He wasn’t much of a talker, so he always felt inadequate offering her advice. Still, he was a great listener and that helped her get things out of her system.
Sometimes things were so difficult to bear that she would just cry, and all he could do was hold her and feel guilty for not helping. She knew this, which was why she started her diary. She hated making him worry.
“Paper can take it,” she’d often say.
He noticed she had her small yellow earphones earphones on, probably listening to classical music again. Debussy was his best guess, judging by how the sad look on her face was slowly relaxing, softening her lips into their usual lovely shape and mellowing her shoulders. He smiled.
(…)
John stepped towards the door, slowly walking past his wife. She looked up with a question mark in her eyes, but he just kissed her head gently, breathing in the smell of tangerine shampoo in her hair, and moved his hand in front of his face as if drinking something. She smiled and nodded.
He went into the kitchen to make some green tea with honey which she liked so much. He had hated that taste at first, but in time he’d gotten used to it as part of their little ritual.
Green tea and honey meant a talk, whatever time of day it was, talk without the stress of having having to provide a solution. Each of them told the other what had kept them awake, and the other one listened, understood and provided a hug in the end. The talk usually started with no talk at all, just inhaling the aroma of warm tea and enjoying each other’s comfort. Sip by sip, the conversation would begin, or wouldn’t. Sometimes just sharing the silence was enough.”

The Stones

“David blinked again, staring at the starry sky through the window. He couldn’t sleep, but he dared not move or he’d wake Emma. They were both overwhelmed with the last few days; the changes were as intense as a never-ending roller-coaster ride.
He felt her warm arm wrap around his waist, and Emma’s soft kiss land on the back of his neck. She cuddled up to him under the blanket, and he felt better in a second, with only a tiny pang of guilt for having woken her up.
“You can’t sleep either, huh?” Emma whispered through another neck kiss, her lips writing on his skin.
“Sorry I woke you up,” David said, his arm pulling her closer.
She rested her face on his shoulder and sighed, with a slight yawn.
“Not much of a sleep anyway, when you dream about real life…”
“Nightmare?” Worried, David wrapped her hair around his fingers.
“Not really, just a dream, but lots of them. Not connected, just… more worries than dreams. Whether Jeremy will be fine here, whether Dot will be happy, what if the car breaks down, any chance of some students ever being kind, if we’re going to be able to cover the bills this month, if… oh well, you know…”
She felt guilty. There he was, sleepless and anxious, and all she talked about were her own dreams and worries.
“Boy oh boy, you women just can’t stop worrying,” he mocked.
He was actually grateful for her speech. She summed up most of his own worries as well. He’d never been good with words, especially to talk about his feelings. It would probably have taken him half the night just to verbalize all the things she spat out in one sigh and a yawn. On top of all that, she managed to awake his protective side, giving him motivation not to whine, but to console.
“I’ll have to make you a dream-catcher then to help you sleep,” he teased.
“Better make yourself one while you’re at it. You’re the one lying awake here all night,” she said with a stern teacher’s look.
He loved it when her eyes got that grey shade of angry.
“I don’t need a dream-catcher, love,” he said, feeling mischievous.
“Oh no?” She teased, knowing exactly what he meant.
“I just bury my face in your hair and all my nightmares go away,” he said, cradling her face in his palms.
Their lips blended. They glued their bodies together, intertwining their feet.
“This is my favourite place in the whole world, you know? Right here,” she said as the kiss finished.
She buried her face in his shoulder. David’s hand glided down her back as he pulled her closer. He smelled her skin and inhaled her scent, meeting her lips in another kiss, savouring those precious moments when the two of them were only the two of them, no worries, or kids or the world around.
As their breaths caught the singular rhythm of passion, neither of them was aware of the trees and the wind singing their song outside.”

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