the origin of clouds (a novel)#8

            That moment came. It was not as she had expected, life succumbing to the sudden snap of a rainstorm. After days of walking amid decaying perplexities, loving a man who could so easily disappear into himself, completely fall out of time like green at the end of summer, she came to know the bloodless ritual of happiness.

            She pretended it was twisting, turning fate that made her a stranger in her own life, gathered her memories like precious stones to admire while waiting for her husband to return from the speechless world of mourners. She threaded crystal prisms she’d collected from lachrymose trees in autumn and hung them in windows to give the children a place to escape the loneliness of their father’s invisible world. But no matter what she did to avoid the inevitable feeling of abandonment, and she did everything that one could possibly imagine—once even stuffing an old love letter he’d written her while he was in prison in his pants pocket, to remind him of his promises—she could not hide the disappearance of the man she had so creatively eulogized.

            That moment came—a soft, barely formed whisper, distantly familiar. A dulcet tone that she had only ever heard once, as a child, but always remembered its glorious feeling, and so painstakingly tried to make sure she told her own children as often as they entered a room.  It came: “I love you.”

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