Fiction Prose


Mark kept a journal, which figured as he rarely spoke and the turmoil in your head has to come out somehow. She’d been around enough men who let it out through their fists, so she’d take a quiet scribbler.

Clarissa knew better than to ask about his history or how he felt. She relished his gentle passion when they were in bed. He clung to her at times, all sweaty and relieved, and she felt like she knew all that she needed to in those moments. Such clarity and honesty. She didn’t need to pry with a man capable of that.

It struck her as odd that at forty-nine and on the downside of her physical appeal, that she had finally met someone she could at least imagine staying with for a long time. She had low expectations, not so much because of her self-esteem, but because of her lived experience. She’d seen friends give up and settle for abuse, so the bar was low by that measure. Her mom hadn’t raised her to expect much from people or life in general. She was trying to get by-pay bills, deal with a debilitating disease- and happiness simply wasn’t on her to do list. Clarissa realized that now, but she didn’t see the point in blaming someone long gone for her situation.

Watching Mark write for hours was riveting to her. She never once peeked at the journals, even though they both knew she could have. Allowing him his privacy showed her the ways he let her be herself. The long drives she took at night and the unexplained absences-Mark never once asked where she’d been. He instinctively knew she needed time on her own. He respected her. This was what she’d wanted for so long without being able to put a name on it and it resonated so deeply she thought she might cry.

© 2022 Jeff E. Brown. All rights reserved.

By jebrownwriter

Houston, TX-based Writer and Photographer. Proud pet rescuer who spends nearly all his money on them.

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