You dream about her sometimes. The shaking wakes you up, makes you sit stationary in the middle of the bed feeling for the glass of water on the nightstand. You don't want to dream about it. Your wife's arm falls floppy over your waist and she tells you, "You startled me. Go back to sleep." You can't tell her that, moments earlier, you were kissing your daughter's throat and pulling away the flat brown hair that covered her collarbone. In the dream her neck pulsed beneath your lips, expanding and releasing. She is 13, taller than your wife, and wears blue jeans that hang low on her hips so that the elastic band of her panties is visible. She sits cross-legged at the table during breakfast and meditates. She says things like: "Dad, sometimes you just need to take a deep breath."
You lie back down and try to think of something
else, but what comes to mind is your tenth grade typing teacher and that
stupid thing she used to say each class period: "You get forty lashes with
a wet noodle for looking at the keys." Then you think about the day your
daughter came out of your wife with one eye sealed shut like a kitten's.
You close your eyes and are relieved that you aren't thinking of your daughter's
lean neck in your waking hours. The house is settling like someone getting
out of bed. You hold your wife and breath into her hair; it smells like
rose oil and chlorine.
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