What It Does to Her

I feel sounds, she said one night. Or it was probably morning by then. Yes, he remembered, it was nearly light when she’d said it, because what made her tell him was the noise of two crows yelling, the dawn coming to pieces between them. The weak light hadn’t quite let the color into things yet, so the sheets, valleyed and peaked, cast grays onto the both of them.

How do you mean? he asked. He tried to listen and mute the pull of her. Were there two millimeters between them, or three?

You feel this, she said, and rested her palm against his neck, fingers threaded through his hair, the same way I feel an orchestra tuning to a concert pitch.

Later he would learn to wage war by sliding the coffee pot back into place three decibels louder than normal. Also later, he would learn that she loved to hear him close the space between them, the air rushing away like the tide and kept out by the sound of him. He learned he had a sound, a sound beyond his name, and that when he’d first given it to her, it had been nearly too much. He learned to abuse what he learned. He learned that she didn’t always mind these particular abuses, so long as the tide turned away often enough.

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