It rained every day that week and they sat reading books by the fire. They drank hot wine and smoked occasional cigarettes. The deep-freeze was filled with food and there were fresh vegetables in the larder. There was no television or radio and, although they made little effort to speak, they exchanged volumes of communication. Most of the time they could hear their own breathing.
At night they slept in single beds set close enough together that they could reach out and hold hands. Most nights they fell asleep with their fingers entwined, facing each other. The moonlight was a rich cream sauce poured liberally over their bodies by a generous hand.The grandfather clock tock-tocked like the heart-beat of a mountain, slow and steady. Love and desire filled the room and swirled gently through the air, whispering. Time smiled benignly and passed slowly by.
During the days they looked frequently at each other. Sometimes they looked at the same time and their eyes merged like fire with fire. At those moments they left their bodies behind and travelled beyond infinity to where dreams float restlessly, waiting until they are needed. Once, he watched her as she gazed within herself and he saw how complete she was. The firelight danced timidly on her skin and stroked her cheeks. She yielded to the insistent caress of the wood fire warmth and gave herself totally. Once, she watched him as he stoked the fire and she saw how he teased the flames into fantastic shapes and moulded them together, passionately, like lovers. Together they looked into the fire and their two lives were welded into one.
Sometimes, when the rain stopped, they sat outside the hut and watched the busy clouds scurrying over the hills and chasing each other across the sky. The great, white shapes would meet and merge, spend some time together, and then separate again, each taking a part of the other in leaving. The couple never grew tired of watching the clouds play.
Seven days passed in this fashion. They ate when they were hungry and yawned when they were tired. They were never more than a whisper away from each other and felt closer than skin. They exchanged thoughts without speaking and expressed opinions with a look. For one week harmony had been their caring host and they shared its hospitality.
They returned to the city together but separated soon after arriving. Before parting they drank a coffee in a downtown cafe.
"Remember," he said, "we've done nothing wrong."
"How could it be wrong?" She asked.
Ron was waiting for her when she entered the house. He gave her a kiss on the cheek. She dropped her bag by the front door and took off her coat. Stephanie and Russell were arguing in the kitchen about who had drunk the last of the milk. She made a mental note to buy extra.
"I can't wear this shirt." Ron decided, taking off his tie. "Where's my blue one?"
Stephanie came running in.
"Russell's drunk all the milk." She whined.
"I can get it myself if you tell me where it is." Said Ron, with resignation in his voice.
"I'm going to be late for school." Shouted Robert from the other room.
The televison blared from the living room with nobody watching. Ron glared at his wife and waited for an answer. The two children felt real hatred for each other. She stood, just inside the front door, and hung up her coat then carried her bag upstairs to her room.
Carol was waiting for him when he returned home. She ignored him when he walked in the door and pretended to be busy arranging dried flowers.
"Did you have a good week?" he asked her. She looked up and glared at him.
"What do you expect?" she spat at him.
He took off his coat and hung it up in the closet.
"There's no food in the house." she announced. "I haven't had time to shop."
He changed into his slippers and stuffed newspapers into his wet shoes and then carried his bag to his room.
They sat on single beds in their respective rooms and opened their bags. The smell of wood-smoke emerged and they were together again.
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