There was nothing more comforting then when I would return home from work and see her washing dishes. Sometimes I would have the day off or she would be the one to return home after me, but after we made dinner she would always go to that place by the sink after the meal. She wouldn’t say a word, she would just begin the task as if it were a meditation. The water flowing across the dishes and her hands busy in the suds across the smooth porcelain. I would help her dry, stand next to her and put things away, but I could never take my eyes off of her there, her eyes down on the task. Content with her apron on to keep her outfit from getting wet, tied in a nice bow on the small of her back.
I could have watched her for hours if we ever made enough dirty dishes. But the moments would usually never be too long. I could feel myself, as I wiped each dish, gravitate closer. It was intoxicating to see her cool brown lips, her tan skin, her curves and her black hair. I wanted to be able to reach into her head and feel the thoughts she had, sense what she was thinking and lounge in whatever wanderings her brain took her.
I would move closer to the sink, dry with an impulsory motion and place dish on dish with a lightness that pervaded all other tasks of the day. Eventually, the hollow warmth that would fill my stomach, chest, and diaphragm would grow. When I felt the soft skin under her sleeve brush against mine, the curvature of her hip nestle with mine. I still could not look away, but she would be set unmoving on her task. Perhaps a smile would grace those sacred lips from some joke or story from another time and place.
I was there, she knew it, but she would perform the task as if I was not. It only streamlined my desire for her.
And as she handed me the last dish I could dry, I would do so and step behind her. Hold her in my arms, feel her form in sinc with mine, her hips, and curves, yet her mind just beyond my reach. She would always giggle and shiver with excitement and warmth. I would smile and coo before finding myself kissing her cheek from behind, her neck, her shoulder. And while I did that, I could tell she smiled, I could tell she waited for this, I could tell that this was her favorite part of the day, because it was mine, and we were one in that moment.
And yet she would keep washing. Her hands in the suds, the motion of her shoulders between mine.
She still would be silent, smile and even sigh at times. I would be unable to contain myself in those moments, the curse of my body in her presence. But a blessing for those moments together.
And when she turned around. Dear God.
Now after all this time…I can still close my eyes and feel…
I can feel the physical youth of it, but, sometimes I hear things, I feel the silent. “I love you”, “Stay with me”, “never leave” “where have you been?” “I’m scared” “hold me closer” “why has it been so long?” “Who am I?” “Why is life so short?” “Who are you?” “How did we find each other?”
All the words that could not be said or heard in those times come to me with clarity. Like mortar to fill the cracks between us it was not words that bound us, but…dishes.
It makes my breath draw like a cold spring.