LINGERING • by Yvonne Eliot

His lashes are so dark against his skin. Unable to resist, I kiss him gently on his temple. He stirs, swallows, and rolls on his side away from me. I run a hand softly over his shoulder, down his side, across his stomach. Nestling into his back, I hold him tightly. He absently covers my hand with his own.

Memories drift like snowflakes: the first time we went to the desert together, looking up into stars that stretched out forever. The weekend we spent at his parents’ house; he’d raided his sister’s cosmetics for an eyebrow pencil to turn the moles on my cheek into tiny hearts. I remember the night before I had to drive to San Francisco when we made love until three in the morning, and he set the alarm for me but forgot to turn it on.

It’s far earlier than that now. We should be making love in this bed, this night. Barely aware of my actions, I start to caress him. This time, he rolls over towards me, drapes an arm lazily over me, and buries his face in my neck. He kisses my shoulder once, twice, then holds me as tightly as I am holding him. But it has been a long day, and sleep is winning. I am content to just lie there, lingering in his arms, feeling him breathe.

His phone rings, the generic tone startlingly shrill. I glance at the clock. 10:42. They would have found what was left of the car by now. I had wanted more time, but there’s nothing I can do.

He flings an arm towards his bedside stand, fishing clumsily for his phone in the dark. He grabs it, and the tone stops as he thumbs the screen.

A mumble: “Hello?”


“What?” Obviously uncomprehending.

I don’t blame him. I’d probably react the same way, myself. He sits up, slightly panicky, groping the cold, empty sheets on my side of the bed. “But she can’t — she was just…. Ellen!”

Even if I could answer, he wouldn’t be able to hear me. I can’t stretch it any longer. I close my eyes and step into the light.

Yvonne Eliot loves evoking experiences, creating stories with watercolor words.

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