They try their best to convince us not to go, but we go anyway, and the weather is beautiful and the conditions are ideal. We hike uphill for an hour, ignoring coyote warnings and fresh droppings. We don’t all live our lives in fear of yesterday’s storm. I shrug into my sweater, ocean views on all sides and berry plants that flame against the sky. On the way back a moose and her young block the path.
“Don’t move,” he says, pulling me behind him.
I can feel it all pent up inside me and I want to scream and charge it and scare something off for once. I’m not afraid, though he thinks I should be. It’s like crossing without looking. Thinking, “hit me, hit me, hit me.”
Later, we fight. I shut up and shut off, stepping out of his reach. The whys are no longer relevant, we say enough in silence, in terse words rationed out one by one. The new apartment is too small to house our bodies fighting, magnified. So we claim rooms like property and set up temporary forts, doors closed, for the cats to butt their heads against.
Hours pass and the immediacy of anger fades, I’m left hollow, wanting only to be held but unwilling to crawl into his arms or call a truce. I fall asleep curled against my body pillow, under my own blanket, a careful inch of space between us, backs rigid.
Overnight we lose all our fight, deflate, fit into our bodies again.
I get up and go to work. Slam the door, only to change my mind, come back, and kiss him softly as he sleeps. Pause to whisper love into his dreams. Unseen.