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Waking up married, he catches her by the window. For a moment, she is nothing but light. Just her shape, golden. She is looking down at the tops of trees. He can see the tip of her index finger extending from that figure of light, tapping against the glass, matching the rhythm of her heart. Something she’d caught him doing on their first night together, his finger tapping against his knee to match his quickened pulse.

She came out of the bathroom in her underwear, into all that dim, warm bedroom light. And he was sitting there on her bed, tapping his finger against his knee, faster every second. She was shy, her head bent down, one foot on top of the other, leaning against the doorframe. She nodded in his direction, “Why are you doing that?” He swallowed, still caught up in how much of her skin there was. He said, “Don’t know. Nervous habit. Um, I guess it’s like if I can tap my finger as fast as my heart’s going, then my heart’s not going to explode or burst out of my ribcage or anything. Weird, right?” She walked over, crawled into his lap, kissed him soundly on the mouth.

Later, lying on top of him with the moon flooding the room and their breath coming out heavy, she started tapping on his chest. The rhythm of her finger slowing steadily as she fell asleep.

When she moves just a little, she goes from all light back to herself again and he can see the color of her hair, the way her eyes move, the tank top stretched tight over her stomach, the ring on her left hand now. She looks over at him and smiles wide, her tapping speeds up a bit. He stretches his sleepy limbs, liking the way she watches his body move with her bottom lip tucked between her teeth. Her tapping getting faster still.

He moves so that his head is at the foot of the bed, closer to where she stands. He could reach out and touch her if he wanted to, but he thinks for now, he’ll just watch her, try to place her in the context of wife, marriage, family. He starts his own tapping, against the side of the mattress. Tap, tap, tap. “I love you,” he says quietly. Tap, tap, tap. “I should think so. You did marry me twice yesterday.” Tap, tap, tap. “I wish I could do it every single day.” Tap, tap, tap.

She comes away from the window now. She crawls onto the bed, her lips touching his cheek, his shoulders, his back as she goes. She lays her head on the center of his back and starts tapping her finger there against his spine. He twists his head so that he can see her behind him. Her eyes are heavy and the corners of her mouth turn slightly upward but don’t break into a full smile. She says, “Husband,” and lets her eyes close. Tap, tap, tap.

He finds her swollen middle with his hand, their bodies like parentheses. Tap, tap, tap. He thinks maybe he’ll feel a response so he keeps tapping though he knows she hasn’t felt it move much herself. She laughs softly and says, “So is your heart going to burst?” Tap, tap, tap. He looks at her, his wife, his future, how even now when she is not in front of that window, she is still all light. Tap, tap, tap. He says, “No, actually, my heart is fine now.”

unfold is the author of 102 other stories.
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