After by Terry Cummings

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After, there was a glow all around her, it filled her like a warm jelly. She had never known this sentimentality about something she had always thought of as a crude and often cruel endeavour. And they had held each other afterwards, this as well, this small act, was something she simply wasn't accustomed to. In the shadowy dawn light of the room tears blurred the edges of silhouette shape of the person before her, not tears of joy or sadness, she really didn't know why she was crying at all. She wondered about it for a few seconds, but the thought was lost in the effort she made not to let him notice. So she pulled her face further from his and turned away just as the first of the tears had swollen into her eyelids and threatened to spill down across her face. She had turned gently to let him know that there was nothing upsetting her and she moved the back of her body into the front of his, pulling his hand across onto her belly. There they rested for a while. He with his breath growing deeper and slower, her with tears wetting the pillow beneath her cheek. The moisture was warm against her skin. She stopped wondering about them. Maybe they were tears of happiness after all. The night seemed to settle around her. For the first time in her life her whole body seemed to drift away into sleep.

She had woken before him but for half an hour she hadn't moved. His face was nestled into the nape of her neck but it didn't feel heavy. It felt comfortable. He had shaved before they had gone to bed and she had laughed at this at the time, they had both laughed. Now though she was glad he had. His skin felt soft. It seemed to blend onto hers. She wouldn't laugh next time he shaved before love making. In that half an hour she found herself thinking that maybe the next time could be very soon, she would wake him and they would make love again. She looked forward to it but she didn't want to wake him. His chest rose and fell, she was warmed beneath his breath. His hair was ruffled but he looked perfect. She moved her toes. She wondered if she had ever felt before like she felt now, she had made love a thousand times but she had never woken in the morning into such perfect relaxation. She had never yearned to wake her partner to make love again. In was so unlike her.
Last night they had exploded in passion. That moment, that critical mass of 'what if' the looks that turn from questions into answers, which tip potential into action had happened as soon as his front door had closed. He had seemed reticent almost afraid so she had pulled him toward her and they had kissed. Their mouths and tongues had seemed to find their perfect partners and they had danced across each other and into each other for what seemed an eternity. And their bodies had met. There against the wall, barely able to prise themselves away from the warmth and touch of each others bodies they had managed to pull away their clothes and losing balance and coordination they had tumbled onto the ground. The smiles at the absurdity faded away after only a few seconds then the tangled form of their bodies found purchase against one another.

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