Today's Reading

After: Sean is lying in bed, one leg dangling from under the sheet. Molly is in the shower. The bathroom door is open, and he can hear her in there, singing.

He's keeping track of the time. It's a forty-minute drive to the airport from their house outside Houston. He wants to get her there at least ninety minutes before her flight is scheduled to depart. She's flying to Bozeman, Montana.

She's been planning the trip for months. It's a retreat on a ranch: yoga and meditation and riding horses. It's designed just for women, so there was never any thought of Sean going along.

The first time she mentioned the trip, it made him uneasy.

"It's a long way," he said.

Molly nodded. "Sure."

"There must be yoga retreats in Texas."

"There must be."

"But you don't want one of those."

"I want this one," she said. "Montana's not against the rules."

"I know."

"You worry too much."

He couldn't argue with that, so he said nothing.

"You think about it," she said. "If you don't want me to go, I won't go."

She didn't bring it up again. He's sure she would have let it drop. But later that week, one night before they went to bed, he told her: "You should go. It's not against the rules."

She takes a while getting ready. Long enough for Sean to shower and dress and fry two eggs and make toast. He eats his breakfast standing in the kitchen. She's already had hers: fruit and yogurt. She left him a bowl of grapes. He eats some of those, too, carrying the bowl into the bedroom.

He lingers there, leaning against the oak dresser at the foot of the bed. It's long and low: six drawers in two rows of three. It's the first thing he made when he and Molly moved into this house.

Molly is in the bathroom fixing her hair. Sean watches her in profile through the open door. She's dressed casually for her flight: jeans and a sky-blue sweater.

She's taking a final look at herself in the mirror, and the palm of her right hand comes to rest on her stomach, just above the buckle of her belt.

It only stays there for a moment, but Sean sees it. It's a gesture he remembers. Two years ago she got pregnant, and sometimes he would catch her in front of the mirror, her hand coming up to rest there. As if to remind herself that it was real.

She never had the baby. She lost it after three months. She cried for a week, in bed with the curtains closed. He didn't know what to do, so he brought her meals she didn't eat and stroked her hair and said things he thought would be soothing. Eventually the crying passed.

Now he wonders if she's pregnant again. They haven't been trying, but they haven't been not trying. And if she is, he wonders if she'll tell him or if she'll want to wait.

She turns her head and catches him watching her. Her lips part as if she might say something, but she doesn't.

She's quiet on the drive to the airport. The traffic is mild. He pulls up in front of the terminal and gets out to lift her suitcase from the trunk. Kisses her and holds on to her. She draws back to look into his eyes, and he can see that she knows what he's thinking.

"Let's not get ahead of ourselves," she says softly.

He keeps hold of her a little longer.


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