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[ 04-04-07 ] [ 9:17 p.m.]
[ Evolution ]

Evolution
He pictured her trying to sneak through her house by the light of the microwave clock. He kept her an hour late already, but that didn’t matter – every second he kept her was one more second of her life that belonged to him, and he carefully guarded his collection of stolen moments. If he could, he would show her his collection and every feeling attached to every last moment. Sometimes he wondered if she understood.

He pictured her crawling into bed with him, ten years later. It was June and it was sticky, and she was fresh and warm from her shower. She slipped beneath the covers and made that happy little sigh she always did when she was around him. She giggled before leaning over to snuggle up against him, fitting her head so perfectly on his shoulder. She murmured softly that she loved him before falling into a deep sleep. And he watched her sleep and wondered if she understood.

He pictured her beneath the light of the stars on some deserted country road. She was older and thicker and hardened by years, but he was still attracted to the twenty-year-old alive inside her, and the forty-something mother of two she was. She was thinking about their lives, like she always did under the stars. Going over their moments together, remembering them. He did that all the time. He was doing it now, watching her watch the stars. He held her hand, and wondered if she really understood.

He pictured her fragile and worn in a hospital bed, and he not much better in a chair beside her. Eightysomething, a grandma five times over and a great-grandma twice. He studied every wrinkle and crease on her face and took pride in knowing he was watching every second those age lines formed. She could – and would – live another twenty years if he wanted her to, but he would never ask her for that. Instead, he would hold her hand and in quiet voices they would talk about sixty years of life together. And going back over those moments in his mind’s eye, he vaguely wondered if she really understood. The soft squeeze of his hand and the tears in her eyes told him more than words ever could that she understood how much he loved her – and that she loved him just as much.

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