But My Aching Bones and Time

My back is stiff and thick, yet strong, but no stronger than my resolve.
Even under the wiry wool, faded from infrequent use, I shiver.
When did it shrink?
A sound?
No just the shift, the groan of the house, cracking his back.
Our load is heavy; he tires from the weight of our secrets.
Made deaf, my ears ring in the silence.
My mouth moves with words I should have spoken. I’ll remember them the next time.
A creak on the stairs where his feet should fall.
They don’t.
He sleeps. A restful, dreamless sleep.
When I’m not there and here he spreads out. His breathing softens. He is at peace.
I am stiff and awake, my resolve as strong as it ever was.
To what end?
He won’t chase. He never chases.
Tomorrow will come. He will ask,
“What time did you come to bed?”
I will shift, my neck stiff from the company of the couch.
A couch not meant for sleeping.
“I slept on the couch,” I offer pointedly.
George sighs heavily, choosing absently from his list of platitudes.
“I Apologize.”
My back aches.
“I shouldn’t have said/done that.” Always “that.”
That covers a host of misdemeanors.
Snide remark. That. Ignored conversation. That.
Absence. That covers that, too.
I ran, I want to point out. Why didn’t you chase me?
That doesn’t quite cover that.
That is the blanket. Made too small. I haven’t grown.
I’ve aged. The blanket has aged.
Made weaker, even though I feign strength.
Back bent, even though I pretend it isn’t bruised.
The blanket, we are similar. Rendered naked and bare.
Time has made a mockery of both of us.
Again, the couch. He sleeps.
In the morning–“what time did you come to bed?”
In the end, nothing to show for my troubles but my aching bones and time.

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