We lie next to each other in bed and both stare up at the ceiling. My thumb keeps running over my naked ring finger. I am counting each of my breaths. I start counting each of Ian’s.
This is how we spend Friday night. Counting cracks on the ceiling. There is conversation, words with little meaning dribbling out in short bursts, but no movement. I finally turn towards him, and he mirrors me, our foreheads touching. We both close our eyes, and stay like that for a moment.
“Let’s sleep,” he says, turning over towards the nightstand and flicking off the only remaining light in the room. I flip over so violently that I cause vibrations in the springs of the mattress. I don’t expect Ian to touch me, but he pulls me into him. And he holds me like the world is going to end.
I wake up early. The clock says eight, and Ian is still clutching me tight. I can’t remember the last time we stayed wrapped into each other like this. I’m not tired, but the thought of leaving his arms is more terrible than anything, so I stay. He is asleep, but not fully, so I flip back towards him, willing, once again, for him. But he just rests his forehead onto mine, and inhales for more sleep.
I can’t be only one thing to him, whatever he wants me to be in this moment, so I sit up in bed and lean forward. He puts his hand on my back as he lays there, running his fingers over each notch of my spine, and as I shift to get up, he reaches out, and pulls me back into him with all of his might. And he will not let me go. We sleep another hour.
When I wake, I lie flat on my back, my ear near Ian’s lips. I get up to leave again, but I’m pulled back into bed with the same rubber band reflex against his chest.
At noon, when I wake back up for the final time, his forehead is tucked in against my shoulder, his breath spreading across my back. I reach my hand behind and find his hair, run my fingers through a thick patch on the back of his head, and he readjusts so his chin is resting in my neck.
“I’m getting up,” I say, and lift myself off the sheets, starting to slide my legs down the side of the bed.
Ian has to catch my body on the way down, but he scoops me up, and doesn’t let me leave. And that’s when I start crying.
“You won’t even kiss me,” I say, facing out, not looking at him.
“It’s not you,” he says. “I just need to take this slow again.”
“I’m your wife, Ian,” I hiss. I’m trying to hard to stop the tears, pushing away any sign that they were ever there with the heel of my hand. “This is Kindergarten.”
I turn back so I’m staring back up at the ceiling, but he takes my hands and pulls me on top of him so I’m straddling him. I put my palms flat on his chest.
“What?” I say.
He puts his hands on my hips and, without a word, starts rocking me back and forth on him.
“What are you doing?” I say. “Ian.”
“Just stop talking,” he says, pulling my chemise up over my head.