When we met, he asked me why I played piano with the lights off. It’s how I focus, I said. I didn’t say then that it felt like falling, dropping into that space between the keys and the sound once everything else went away. I didn’t say that it kept me from tearing my skin off. The notes escape their notation. It’s playing hooky from gym class, running instead along the lakeshore, leaping roots and stones, letting branches hit your outstretched fingers as you go. Good game, good game, good game. But without imperative.
These days he listens to me pull myself apart song by song. I can sink beneath the surface but I can’t keep myself there. I don’t know how to ask him. But he kneels behind the bench, wraps one arm lightly around me, and rests his chin on my shoulder. “My love,” he says. “Let me help.”
I nod. I lift my hands from the keys and let the sound go.
I kneel on the bed. He ties the knots with intention, guiding the twin lengths of rope so that they lay parallel against my skin, wrapping my chest and pinning my elbows behind me, each cradled in the other. My breaths slow and lengthen and push against the tension in the rope. I smile. He looks back at me, tethering me to him. In one hand he holds the blindfold, and with the other he leans me back against the pillows. I sink into the dark.
June Drake is currently writing about grief and memory in the Pacific Northwest. She’s on Twitter as @basketofkisses_.