Charity Starts at Home

This post is part of Write Your Ass Off April, a Twenties Unscripted 10-Day Writing Challenge #WYAOApril. Today’s prompt: Heal.



Sunday morning comes cloaked in silence. Inside, the bedroom is still, remnants of last night strewn about haphazardly. Outside, there is not a bird chirping or a truck roaring by. It feels like someone pressed pause on the whole world. 

And isn’t that what we’ve tried to do these last few days?
I roll over, half lying on his back, pressing my bare breasts against his exposed back, kissing his shoulders and tracing the script of Invictus etched into the skin.
I am the master of my fate
I am the captain of my soul 

My fingertips pay special attention to my favorite part.
He stirs slightly underneath me, mumbling something into the pillow, and reaching behind him to touch my bare skin. We lay that way for awhile, afraid to move and break the spell, and knowing that we must. 
He moves first, rocking me off his back, turning, and pulling me into his chest in one movement. He rests my jaw in his hands and leans his forehead into mine.
“This is it, you know.”
It’s not a question and I don’t have to answer because whether he’s talking to me or himself, we both know.
We both know.
He lifts himself over me, kissing my eyes still fluttering with sleep, and the bow of my lips and the curve of my neck. He trails nibbles and licks down my torso before throwing my legs across his back. He’s painting lines of art across my flesh and I am purring.
He takes me slowly, quietly, methodically. He’s learned our melody and he’s playing it perfectly. He stops to kiss me, to look at me, to kiss the freckles on my face. He’s studying me, as I am him, so he can take this with him when he leaves.
We stay in bed for hours, tangled around each other, whispering and moaning, drifting off to sleep. 
Late, way too late, in the afternoon we stumble into the kitchen, famished and exhausted. We share cold Thai from cardboard boxes without bothering to turn on the lights. We fall back into bed, back into each other, back to sleep.
When we wake up, it’s time.
He gathers his things in silence, while I sit cross legged on the middle of the bed watching. He does it the way he does everything, deliberately, precisely, moving at the intersection of grace and masculinity. When he’s done, when every trace of him is packed in his leather duffle, he leans against my dresser and looks at me. Wordlessly he holds out his hand to me, meeting me at the foot of the bed. He hugs me, resting his head on top of mine and I can hear him sigh through the bare skin of his chest.
“I think it’s time for me to go.”
We dress quietly, handing each other things across the distance. When we’re done, we reconvene at the foot of the bed. He kisses my lips, my nose, my forehead.
“Let’s do this,” he says.
We jump in the car and head south towards the airport, with me shuffling through music with one hand while absentmindedly tracing his fingers with the other. A song shuffles on that he turned me on to the first time we tried to do This.
“You know I haven’t listened to this whole album since the fight in San Antonio?”
“Oh, Jesus. That was a bad one. But you shouldn’t give up the album tho. This shit is classic.”
“It is. It’s one of my favorites. But I… I just couldn’t.”
“Music holds your memories.”
“All the fucking time.”
No pretending
Baby, I’m sending 
Sending all my love to you 

We listen in silence for awhile, both of us no doubt drifting back to when this song was new for us, when we were then who can’t manage to be now. He grabs my hand. I stare out the window because I’ve cried enough. I’m tired. 
“I don’t know if I’ll ever understand why we don’t work.”
“You do. You just don’t want to.”
“Is that a bad thing? Not wanting to give up?”
“You don’t wanna give up because you hate to lose, not because of us.”
“Is there a difference? Does it matter?”
“You don’t get it. If I have to choose between the peace and the passion- and I don’t think I do- I’m gonna choose the peace. Every time. And you’ve never been able to bring me any type of peace.”
He says nothing, and I hope I wasn’t harsher than I meant to be. I’m just so ready to be done. We retreat to our corners, riding the rest of the way in the cool of the silence that has drawn itself between us. It’s ironic considering we once thought we’d never run out of things to talk about. 
At the curb, he hoists bag up on his shoulder.
“Well…” he says and he trails off, never really sure how to end things because he’s never the one that wants to.
“You’re fumbling for words because there’s nothing else to say, baby.”
“Yeah. Yeah.”
He drops his bag and wraps me up in an embrace so tight that my back pops in three places. 
“You know,” he says into my hair, “I wouldn’t be mad if you called me if you changed your mind.”
And I don’t know how to explain to him how this time is different. How, more than I am sad or scared or lonely, I am tired. Tired of ending up right back here. With him. With everyone. Tired of this particular brokenness. I am resigned. And for him, that may be worse than my fury or my weakness. Because that means I really am gone.
So I say nothing, because it seems kinder.
We stand that way for awhile, swaying back and forth before he abruptly lets me go, scoops his bag and heads towards the sliding doors separating us from security. I find that I have nothing left to say to his back.
I slide into the driver side he just vacated and drive north, numb and unaware, until the sun setting over my favorite view of the skyline catches my attention. The music has been playing on without me listening and as usual, the universe is talking to me and hoping I’m listening. 
Break bread with your fellow man
Show him love but look out for your heart
And always take care of home
Because home is where charity starts
Home is where charity starts…