A feeling of love in the darkness of night.

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A VG Serial: Hills of Eden

Episode 30

Well, she turns over in sleep like something sleek and sweet, like a graceful seal rolling lazy in the ocean. And he looks at her in the dark of the room, sees the moon shed light on her face and arms as it streams through the windowpane, magnifies, streaks through her dark hair with pewter fingers. She is beautiful because the dim moonlight softens her, takes away her age, irons out the wrinkles in her face and sculpts her to a youthful figure in repose.

This is the time to look at her. This is the perfect moment to forget the bitter quarrels, the words laden with anger that coursed between them like arrows barbed and cutting, like sharp stones shot from a leather sling. This is the calm silence where good thoughts are born, where the bad past can be forgotten, where memory and history can be altered with little remorse.

Like this, he loved her. He could love her without any screen between them, any animosity. He could think of her as the child she once was, as the innocent, before the world and its ways corrupted her. It was a sweet, clean love and she was as beautiful in repose as a woman in a French Impressionist painting. She was forever, timeless, wonderful.

He wondered if she knew how much he loved her. He did not always say so. Not always at the right time, when it was needed most. Well, there was no way to tell her how much he loved her. It was too complicated. He could feel the love, as he felt it now, but to express such feelings was beyond his ability with words. Maybe this was the best way. Look at her asleep and let the love he felt wash over him, wash over her. Like healing waters, like balm.

He looked at her and it seemed he could feel her love him, too. He wanted her to love him. Like this, quietly, and without boundaries, without restrictions, amendments, qualifications. Maybe, he thought, such love could only exist at night, when the busy world was invisible, when only the two of them were alive. But that was only a small part of love, not even half. You had to love during the hard times, too. You had to love in the harsh light of day as well as in the soft spell of evening.

He wanted to awaken her, but he knew that if he did, it would all go away. Most of it, anyway. No, let her sleep. Let her be like this and tomorrow he would tell her how he had looked at her, and brushed a hand across her face, stroked her hair, nestled against her, secure in the darkness.

Tomorrow. It might never come. He might close his eyes and never awaken. He felt terribly mortal just then. She seemed so close, yet so far away. She was lost to him, lost in the ocean of sleep, unaware of his presence or his thoughts.

“I love you,” he said softly into her ear. She did not stir and he wondered if the words could go through sleep, could penetrate the subconscious and work through the dream, become part of memory. “I love you,” he said again, more loudly and she stirred, turned away from him.

Maybe she knows, he said to himself. Maybe she knows that I feel this way about her all the time.

He put an arm across her waist, closed his eyes.

He vowed to tell her about all this. Tomorrow, he would tell her that he had looked at her while she was sleeping and that he had felt a great love for her that had built up over the years. He would wait until she was wide awake and had had her coffee. That’s when he would tell her how he had felt looking at her as he had.

He did not sleep for a long time because he kept trying to put all of it in words and none of the words said what he had felt. The words kept getting tangled and mixed up and he finally gave up.

“Goodnight, sweetheart,” he said and those were the right words, finally.

“Goodnight,” she replied, turning over, taking him into her arms. “I love you.”

And there it was, the nocturne he could not put into words because it was too complicated. He opened his eyes and kissed her, but she was already back to sleep. Fast asleep, a smile on her face.


Hills of Eden will be published every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

Please click the title, Hills of Eden, to read more about Jory Sherman and his books.

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