He was reading a book by a writer she didn’t know. He was sitting in the armchair straight-spined and hand on knee, the other cradling the spine of the handcover. He was approaching the end of a page. He took the edge up with his fingertips in a curled anticipation although he didn’t anticipate. Then the page turned over. He looked up at her and gave a warm half smile and she was about to say something before she realised she didn’t know what and he returned to the page. To his left stood the standard lamp with the faded red shade and the likewise hanging tassels that hung towards him, and the light hugged in a small orbit around the armchair.
She put away the dishes that had been drying on the bench. He shifted position and shifted the book from one hand to the other. From the kitchen she was too far away to read the title. She took her phone out and searched the author’s name.
In their bedroom she sat down on the bed and opened her laptop and checked the things that needed checking. She looked at the bookmark in the book on the nightstand on her side of the bed. She replied to a message from a friend and ignored another from a friend she didn’t know. She got dressed. She replied again to her friend. While she was brushing her teeth the laptop sounded three more messages received and she set it to mute so as to not disturb him in the other room. While she did her hair she looked at herself in the mirror for longer than she usually did. At the window she saw he was out watering the tomato trees and she admired the way the light cast across his neck. Hannibal came to the window and put his paws up on the glass and she tapped the window with her knuckle for him to get down.
On the train she rechecked the things that needed checking. Each passing station contributed to a tally of how far she was away from him, a tally that then returned to zero that evening.