The Scream Behind Her Smile
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I drag my gaze from across the room and look at my husband. Really look at him. He has his eyes squeezed shut. Has he always done that?
Was there ever a time we’d looked at each other as we made love?
“Derek?” I whisper. “Derek,” I repeat a little louder when it is clear he hadn’t heard me.
Derek opens his eyes, a slight frown between his brows. “Do you want me to stop?” Is that impatience in his tone?
“No,” I say. “I… I love you.”
“Love you, too.” But he closes his eyes as he says the words. He doesn’t see the tear that escapes between lids I’ve squeezed shut.
He changes the angle of his thrust. It’s only slight, but I recognize it, and I know he is getting close. I can almost tell, to the exact thrust, when he’ll climax.
Then he’ll roll off me and onto his back. I’ll lay my head on his chest and listen to the beat of his heart as it slows. For one minute. Never longer. He’ll then roll over, and I’ll spoon his back.
His eyes are shut, so he doesn’t see the other tear that rolls down my cheek to dampen the hair at the base of my neck. But I’m not even sad.
I don’t feel anything at all.
How can I cry when I feel this empty?
How can I feel empty with my husband inside me in the most intimate way possible?
With the final thrust of his hips, like an orchestra conductor’s last wave of his staff, Derek finishes.
Without a single glance in my direction, he rolls onto his back.
I didn’t even bother to fake an orgasm.
He doesn’t seem to care.
This time I roll over, my back toward him.
He doesn’t move to hold me as his heart slows. Instead, I listen as his breathing turns to a light snore.
I’m not where I belong. But that can’t be right. I’m married. I’m living with my husband. Surely this is where I belong.
Then why do I feel so lost?
And so terribly alone.