Across the street, a retired couple strolled, rocking to a shared rhythm it had taken them years to co-ordinate.
Slowly, luxuriously, the day slipped away. The restaurant dimmed. Waiters ached to go home. In the plaza, the fountain couldn’t quite touch the stars, but certainly reached for them, the cool comfort of sky and spray mingling along iridescent edges. Sam and Clara went for a walk, holding each other in changing, experimental grips, all awkwardness and bliss.
It was late, well past midnight, but Sam couldn’t sleep. He inhaled the aroma of Clara’s long bubble bath as she lingered in there and he missed her.
He had no idea she was waiting, hoping he’d join her. Soaking as the water turned cold, she kept picturing ways he could slip in and “accidentally,” catching her naked: He’d forgotten his watch. He’d forgotten she was in there. Or the best of all possible scenarios: he’d just missed her and wanted to hold her as she sat so completely vulnerable, fresh, and hungry in the tub.
But he never came.
– From “The Mourning After,” a novel by Edward Fahey.