Her spirit would rail against him at times, as if his comforting arms had become shackles. She couldn’t understand where her philosophy and his diverged.
Sitting across from him at the cafe table— any cafe table, it’s no matter— a thought or fancy would flit into her mind like a little bird. She would soar with it, following the flight of the idea in full fascination. Her eyes would flash, her hands gesture to catch it as it tumbled through her mind. She would turn her face to her cafe companion, and her eyes, too preoccupied by the thought and her speech, would not see him. Instead, she would chase the flight of her thought until the chains of her companion’s silence— heavy-lidded and shifty-eyed— would arch above her and tether her mid-flight, mid-speech.
“What?” she would say, crashing down from the heights.
And he, shifting his eyes and guarding his face, would look toward his plate. Annoyance would pull taut the corner of his lips.
“Nothing,” he would say.
And the word was like the rasp of the mannacle slipping home against her wrist.
© 2022 Katie Baker