Two (October 2019, Week 1, Day 1)

The silence, enveloping her, the room, the house, and probably the town, was all she could sense. Dani hadn’t thought through what would happen after she did it, after she’d said what she came there to say, after he heard her words. The events leading up to it had been planned and rehearsed. She’d mapped everything out down to the smallest detail. This silence – she hadn’t seen this coming. Waiting, as hard as it felt, was all she could do. Letting the silence take over, and giving him the power to determine what happened next, was the only option.

The ringing, reverberating, consuming sound of her words took him over. He didn’t know where she stopped and the sound started, or even if there was a separation to be found. Everything he’d heard – was still hearing – left him unstable, as if instead of entering a pup he’d boarded a storm-tossed ship. She was standing in front of him, still and waiting, as stable as stone. He didn’t understand, didn’t know what to do next, didn’t know when his normal hearing would win over the lingering sounds filling his head.

They’d met simply enough, as most do. She worked behind the counter, he dined there on weekdays. They both lived their routines so much that, later, neither would be able to pinpoint the exact date they’d met. It just happened and they grew to expect the other would be in their appointed spot at the appointed time. And they always were.

Back then, he paid more attention to his looks than she did. His carefully chosen ensembles fit his cultivated frame perfectly. The hours he spent in the gym would only have been evident to someone who had the pleasure of seeing him undressed. In his clothes, and very much with intention, he looked average. Average with a whif of something that made one take a second look even though they didn’t understand why. 

She, back then, saw both the body inside them and the clothes wrapped around it as a necessary nuisance. Her mind was the focus and where her attention was paid. Books and Interesting People were what she spent careful and meticulous time cultivating in her life. One might find their eyes sliding right past her if she was silent only to end up with a crick in one’s neck after whipping around to look for the person with such sage utterances. She enjoyed the anonymity almost as much as her books.

In the amorphous time between sharing space and knowing each other, each felt the pull of the other though they weren’t aware of it on the surface. The changes were subtle and significant all at the same time. Earrings under her tousled hair on a Tuesday, a classic novel next to his lunch plate on a Thursday, a brisk walk after work on a Friday, digging into conversation with someone sitting next to him on a Monday. The shifts weren’t FOR each other – they hadn’t even really met. The shifts were FOR themselves, INSPIRED by the other, which are the very best kind. 

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