Shadow of a Girl
His hand stills. He doesn’t move. Neither do I, and neither one of us speaks. Then West shifts first, gently pushing me away, and rolls to a sitting position. He rubs his eyes and looks around and finally with a sigh, glances over his shoulder at me where I still lay on the blanket.
“It’s late,” he says, “and you’ve got to be up early for work.”
I nod, completely confused that he’s the one who pulled away.
He gets to his feet and holds out his hand. “Come on, I’ll walk you to your room.”
I let him pull me up, and together we fold the blanket. But as I come toward him with my ends of the blanket, he slides one arm around my back and holds me to him. “Hug me,” he whispers. “Please?”
His words liquefy my insides, and I don’t hesitate as I slip both arms around his waist and lay my face on his chest. With the blanket smooshed between us, I listen to his heartbeat as he pulls me in snug, resting his head on top of mine. Gently, he rocks me, humming a song I don’t recognize, but the tune buzzes through me, and I sink further into the embrace.
We stand this way, gently swaying, as he hums the whole song. I haven’t cried in many years. The last time I did I was in excruciating pain. So when the wetness pools in my eyes, I blink my lids, surprised, realizing they’re tears of happiness.
Exactly what tears should be.