...a slab of heavy sunlight covered them.

The marble, a giant cool palm, held them in the center of a universe that twisted around them like some strange forgotten Latin dance.

She breathed once more, so he stayed. Still as winter. 

He had drifted in and out of sleep during the night, woke earlier with her hand still crooked under his chin. Her hair fell upon his arm like a child's breath, and the morning turned her body to amber. He remembered how they danced - the warm curve of her pressed into him, her cool  fingers in his palm, the sweetness of her that lingered on his hands and his chest when the music stopped.

She was dreaming - he wondered of what - her eyes roaming under pale lids. His mind drifted as he rested, absorbed in the rhythm of her chest.

He dreamed that he could feel the world swinging around the sun in a wide scything arc that cut through the universe toward a black ocean of stars rolling in the night sky. He opened his eyes and wondered for a moment if he was really awake. She lay there beside him, glowing in the infant morning. The trees whispered, casting a net of shadows across them both. He thought that the shadows spelled out a strange story, if he could only remember the ancient language in which it was written.

In his head he squeezed a tight fist around the memory of her high heels clicking out a frenzied rhythm on the hard boards of the dim dance hall. He could still smell the smoke and perfume of the night before clinging faintly to them both like a frightened child.

When was that? Hours ago?

How long had they been there in the garden of pale stones? He tried to remember when the dancing stopped but all he could pull out of the cloud in his head was a long thread of swaying hips and whispering fabric and rhythmic moaning and then the light of the day running its silent hands over their skin.

He ached. Lying so still left him sore and stiff, but he feared that moving would stop the soft whisper of her breath so close to his. He imagined the murmuring of their lungs pooling together between them and swirling in a tiny tempest that danced across the flat marble and out into the world looking for a disaster somewhere outside of his line of sight.

He listened. Waiting.


A faint scuttling of air curling out of her mouth like a secret no one shares. How it made him shiver. He wanted to steal it. Take her breath and clutch it to his chest like a talisman. A token of her soul, which he longed to touch like the curve of her neck, but knew that no matter how close he pressed his body he could never grasp that shadowy part of her that teased him like a ghost in a window.