“Why do you look so sad?” she asked one day.
This confused him. They had just made love, for the eight time that week. And it was only Thursday. He didn’t feel sad. He didn’t feel much at all right now except contentment with his lover. She was wrapped around him like soft sleepwear, smelling of sweat and playfulness and sassy.
“I’m not sad!” Was this a test, some sort of whimsical girl thing? Although, she wasn’t a girl really, any longer. At least on the outside. Inside, he knew she thought of herself as a girl. She could be 89 and a great-great-grandma, and he could envision her looking at the mirror and going “hey girly girl, look’n good!”
She turned over and looked at him, her amazing green eyes flecked with blue as curious and warm as ever. “Not now. But sometimes. Sometimes your eyes go somewhere. You’re not here but there. Where ever there is. Where do you go?”
Her empathy ran deep. Maybe it was the way she made love. She was always shy about it, at first, as if she would blink and find the kisses weren’t real. Then, as the kisses continued she would simply let go.
It was his favorite part, when she let go. Her mind would blank, all her worries, all her stress, everything neat and ordered in her life gone. Gone as long as he kept loving her. And she would say such naughty things.
Afterwords, it was as if her heart beat in time with the world. Moments where she understood things, felt things. That she was pulling on a thread should not surprise him. It was, essentially, his own fault. He brought her here. What did he expect?
But then, what should he tell her? It was too much. The wrong type of intensity. It was foul. It only intruded upon his thoughts because it was one of those things never forgotten. He didn’t want to tell her. She was too good. Too pure. Too in-tune. Gaia. It would be like poisoning the Earth. Her eyes would not be green any longer. They would die. He would murder her eyes.
“See, there, just now, you went away.”
“I don’t like to go there, it’s not a good place,” he finally admitted.
“Tell me. Why?”
“You’re not there,” he said simply. “You’re here. You’re here.“
She looked at him and then he saw it. She knew. Knew he didn’t want to say. Knew he didn’t want to leave. Knew it wasn’t important. Only talking about it would make it so.
So she never asked. She kissed him, and wasn’t shy. She took command of him, and chased the thoughts away, purged them as if they were never there.
She was never shy again, at the start of their lovemaking. She still let go. She still liked to whisper her naughty talk into his ears.
Yet, he missed it. That part of the woman that was the shy girl.
Empathy, he thought, sometimes had a terrible, terrible price.