They’d been taking their time. There wasn’t any need to hurry. They moved slowly, because the days moved slowly, and the air stood still around them. During the day, they worked together, but separately, not talking to each other, each of them hardly looking or giving notice to the other. In the evenings, they ate together, talking to each other softly. Sometimes he would touch her face–not always, not often, just now and then, unpredictably. When he touched her face, she became still and silent, like the air around them. They would go back to his apartment, and they would talk a little more, and then they would fall asleep on his bed sharing one pillow between them. On Saturday mornings, they took showers, separately, and went out to the street. He held her hand protectively, matter-of-factly.
But this morning, wrapped in a towel from her shower, seeing the sun spilling over his bed, she climbed back in, laying there, half-asleep and warm and clean. He came into the room, wrapped in a towel from his shower. He climbed in with her. And without thinking, they had crossed a border, turned the turnstile, come out from their cages, from their caves. There was nothing awkward or fussy about it, nothing strange or unsettling. And then: she dozed there, in the sun, in this new country, and he traced her bare back with his fingertips.
The day went by slowly and sweetly. He held her hand, but this time with some sort of purpose, as if he were claiming something that belonged to him. They watched a film, ate at a diner, went to a record store where he bought a vintage Jobim record, holding it up and smiling at her. He brought them home, the girl, and the music, he turned on his light that glowed a dusky blue, and guitars were strumming gently while he removed her clothes. He did not believe in God, he had almost stopped believing in love, he had built walls and walls and walls around him, but now it was her body, the blue light, the music, his hands, her hands, his mouth, her mouth, and the light of the room married the moonlight, dissolved into a new morning.