“This Is,” new excerpt from “Pushing the River”

 

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            There was something about that particular time.  They lay together afterwards for a very long while, not one word passing between them, wide awake.  Occasionally she would bury her fingers in his chest hair, or inhale deeply the scent of his skin.  Their breathing did not slow down, long after it should have.  When one of them finally said, “I’m starving,” they both leapt up, and stood facing one another across the bed, breathing heavily, eyes fixed on one another in the gathering dusk, neither moving, as if rooted to the spot, the moment, one another.

            “You know what this is, don’t you?”  Dan said.

            “What?”

            “I mean, you know what’s going on here, right?”

            “What?” Madeline said again.

            “This is love,” Dan said.  “There is love here.”

            “W H A T ? ! ?” Madeline shot back.  “I mean, W H A T ? ! ?”

            “Stop saying ‘what.’  You know there is.”

            “Shit!”

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            Madeline paced along her side of the bed within a roughly two-foot square, more  like a crazy dance, while Dan gazed into the now-dark room with a thousand-mile stare.

            “That was most definitely not the plan!” Madeline said.

            “The plan was to have no plan.”

            “Yeah, but the plan was definitely not…this!”

            “It’s not in anybody’s control here.  It just is.”

            “Well aren’t you just the zen fucking master.”

            Dan laughed, and Madeline said, again, “Shit!”

            “Come on.  I thought you were starving.”

            “I thought you were starving.”

            “Let’s get some food. You. Me. Us.”

            “For the record, I feel compelled to state that I am not happy about this.”

            “Duly noted.  How about Chinese?”

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