Before | 2. After
I watch him quietly as he prepares dinner for the children. Efficient,
that's what he is. When I met him, when we were paired I saw:
efficient. I saw: dependable. I saw: handsome, reliable, I saw strong
and healthy offspring that he would provide for. But that's all changed
since I gave birth to Lisa. I see something different now.
I'm afraid. I think maybe he knows. He always knows, he's the best
Cleric there is, he always knows when someone is feeling. I'm so afraid
that he knows, and he won't be able to help himself. Like I said, he's
the best Cleric there is. If he knew, he'd turn me in, because it's his
job to be the best. If people found out that his own wife was a Sense
He turns, catches me watching. He looks puzzled. He has no idea what I
find so interesting in the simple act of his making dinner. I had
better be more careful, an irrational act like that could get me
arrested and processed, turned in by my husband, or perhaps even my own
son. I wouldn't blame them; they wouldn't be able to comprehend any
other course of action.
I stopped taking my intervals after I had Lisa. I guess I was sick of
popping out these babies and never caring about them, never knowing why
I was doing it. I was sick of sleeping with John and never knowing why
we should sleep in the same bed or why we should copulate to make these
children I cared nothing for. There's a better term I learned from my
explorations into EC-10 material - "making love". It would be good to
make love with John, just once to know that he wasn't thinking of it as
an excercise solely to create a child. I envy the women among the few
Sense Offenders I know whose husbands or lovers are feeling too, but I
could never persuade the highest ranking Cleric in the Tetra-Grammaton
to skip his interval. I must not even mention it, though I long to try.
Longing - that's another feeling I know well now.
And over the past three years the feelings have grown alright. I'm
feeling more every day! It makes me afraid, but somehow the feelings
make the fear less terrible. He catches my eye again, and this time I'm
sure he knows. I've seen that look before, when he knows he's found
someone who's feeling. I brace myself for the accusation, no, not even
an accusation because he knows he's right. It'll be a statement, a flat
fact. "You're feeling."
He turns away, intent on the food he's taken from the microwave. I
can't believe it, I know that he knows, but he's not accusing me, he's
not arresting me. The next time he looks round his face is blank; all
it's asking is - Will you come have dinner now? I go to sit down, and
he sets my plate in front of me. He sits opposite, the children in
between, and we discuss his day, my day, the childrens' day.
I think that he knows, but he will not allow himself to know. What does
this mean? Could he..? It's impossible. He's around other Clerics every
day; it would have been spotted long before now. Even so, a tiny spark
of hope awakes in me. Another feeling! The tiniest spark, that's all
I'll allow. Couldn't stop it if I tried! I think it will be okay, if I
keep it to myself, if I don't show what I'm feeling or that I'm even
feeling at all.
I will allow myself only this: one tiny spark of hope that my husband
loves me as I have begun to love him.