Catch on the Couch

Their bodies were settled into the couch, the long day finally over. The cushions seemed to hug them, comforting their weariness as they reclined. They didn’t cuddle, but their legs were tangled together as they relaxed. With the television off, the music paused, and the cell phones away, the air around them was filled with quiet. Their calm exhales didn’t interrupt the peace, but seemed to add to it, as they let their thoughts of the day give way to the nothingness that lingered.

She leaned back on the armrest, while her eyes looked forward into book on her lap. He sat opposite, gazing out the window behind her to the backyard, where the late October sunset shown on the pine trees lined next to the fence. It was no longer being caught in the rush of summer that tired them, he realized, but the idleness they now felt now since everything had simply ceased. With the disappearance of summer, something else had vanished as well, though he couldn’t figure what it was. The traffic that had frequented the street next to the house had stopped, yet they still listened for the stream of cars that used to shoot by.

His eyes shifted to her, still contently buried in her book. The sunset surrounded them with shadows, the twilight approaching. His body shifted, sinking deeper into the couch. Feeling something under the cushion, and his hand emerged with a miniature Styrofoam ball. Palming it a few times, he rolled it in his hands before tossing it to her. As it dropped in between the pages, rustling the book, her eyes looked to see him smiling. Conversation had never been necessary, actions were what mattered. He nodded at her, insisting she throw the ball back. She did. The shadows were growing, she could see, and soon it would be too dark to read.

The game of catch continued, small smiles on each of their faces forming. A giggle periodically escaped either of them as they passed the ball like children. The football flew from one end of the couch to the other, coming to rest for a moment before becoming airborne again. The pace remained steady, adrenaline not their motivator. Each time they cradled the ball, their smooth hands snagged on its bumpy texture, feeling the minute trace of the other’s last touch.

When the ball was thrown to her again, he came with it, drawn to her like a fish on a hook. His body lay on top of hers, cuddling her soft sweater. Their eyes closed as their lips met, not breathing as they kissed. Where the shadows of the evening were cool, together they were warm. Rolling next to her, he was lost in her kiss, obsessed not about the sexual side, but the affection of it. He hugged her closer, his eyes tightly shut, hoping that the sight of her in the final rays of sunlight would be burnt into his memory.

Their rolling around eventually ceased, as they lay atop one another on the couch. The ball had gone missing again, disappeared to somewhere they wouldn’t look for a while. He was her cushion now, as their arms wrapped around each other, their heads tilting toward the window so together they could see in the black sky the emergence of the stars.

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