She’d long since despaired of his return, but the press of his rough fingers on the small of her back, the smoke and salt of his lips, were imprinted in her psyche despite all efforts at forgetting. She’d waited for the groan of the fickle doorbell until waiting became a humiliation and her thoughts turned bitter in the hard loneliness of her bed. She vowed if he ever reappeared, he wouldn’t make it past the threshold. But then there he was, lunch box in hand on that chilly autumn day, the smell of decaying leaves and wood fire in the air, as if he’d just been off working at the construction site and was home for supper. And just like that she was back in his arms, gnawing at his mouth, the lunch box dropping with a metallic clank, all the questions and mysteries between them seething in their embrace.

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