I had just finished washing the dishes, wiping the film of grease and sugar off our counters and off the white in-betweens of our stove. I washed my tired, achy hands, already peeling from the caustic effects of liquid detergent and the ordinary tasks of maintaining a decent home.
I turned the light off in our little kitchenette, and looked through to door to see what Daniel was doing. He was sitting on his wobbly fabric desk chair that’s too small for him, fixated on the computer reading something to further add to his knowledge of the world. He absorbs, craves information and this what he does almost every night. I ached for him - I’m not sure for what - maybe for comfort or sympathy, but nevertheless, I knew he was tired too so I left him alone to himself.
I walked over to our small couch, turned and sat. I didn’t bother to turn on the television even though I had heard that it was the finale of American Idol. I hadn’t been following anyway. No, at this point of the day, I just couldn’t bear to have loud images and jingles of weeknight television commercials interrupt my senses. I sat, a little dejected although I felt some sort of accomplishment having cleaned the kitchen.
I heard Daniel in our bedroom get up from his chair. I saw him appear in the doorway that separates our only two rooms in the apartment. He, in his basketball shorts and hoodie, stared at me at me blankly. This is a usual thing that we do. We stare as we can only communicate through our eyes and stoic stance. It is not a look of lust or love or anger. It is a look of acknowledgement, a look that lets us know that the other exists and is appreciated.
He walked over towards me, slowly, with the same blank stare. He sees me sitting on the couch, tired, makeup smudged from the day, in Target boxer shorts, imperfect. The apartment is silent. He comes up right in front me, grabs my two hands, and gently tugs until I am standing upright on the couch.
I then become his height.
We looked eye to eye. We paused like fighters, anticipating our opponent’s first move. But I forgot. There were no fighters here. He pulled my arms to wrap around his body, and embraced me. We cracked smiles, and hugged tight. I was tall enough to rest my chin in the nuzzle of his neck and we remained like this until he lifted me from the couch, walked to our room, and plopped me on the bed so that I could be next to him. He then, returned to his chair while I grabbed a book, and we spent the rest of the night like this until it was time to go to rest.