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I Have You Now

By Kevin Spaide

The view from the window was the same as always. A gangling tree in the distance, a pair of smallish mountains on the horizon. Then something caught my eye. It was my wife climbing over the fence. Seeing her out there was so strange and unexpected it was like catching a glimpse of her on TV.

I got out of my chair and cranked the little knob that opened the window. This was the first house we’d lived in with windows that opened like that. They were a good idea (you could never paint them shut) but they had none of the poetry of the old windows. I stuck my head out the strange window. It was a fine summer day and the air was fragrant with the lazy heat-smell of the sunflower field. The goddamn honeybees were everywhere.

“Hey, you!” I shouted. “What are you doing over there?”

My wife looked up at me, her face twisted in concentration as she struggled to get over the fence. Then she gave up and just sat down. She didn’t sigh or groan or anything. She just sat down calmly and silently like a cat.

“And what are you doing up there?” she asked.

It felt good to shout at my wife from the window with my elbows resting on the sun-warmed sill. And she smiled at me from her cat-like position on the fence. This was the first time we had ever looked at each other from these peculiar angles and both of us laughed at the humor of it. Everything was suddenly very humorous. She was in one dimension while I was in another. It hardly seemed possible that I could walk down the stairs and enter the world I saw out that window. We laughed again. The moment was purely our own.

I told her she looked good sitting on the fence with her hair shining in the sun.

“Oh? Well, you look kind of small,” she admitted. “Like I could pluck you out of that window and stick you in my pocket.”

I chortled at the possibility of my wife putting me in her pocket. “You wouldn't,” I said.

Suddenly she brought out the camera she always kept in her pocket and focused it on me. She was always taking pictures when I least expected it. I stiffened a little in the stare of the machine, chuckling as I imagined what I must look like from down there. Without saying a word I waited until she had snapped the picture. Then she put the camera back in her pocket. “There,” she said, patting her pocket, “I have you now.”

Just then three swans flew over the house in triangular formation. It was such an unusual event that both of us watched them until they were small white specks on the horizon. When they finally dipped below the trees along the river I said, “Why don't you get off that fence before you fall down.”

She stared up at me. “And why don't you,” she said, jabbing a finger into the air, “shut your window before I climb up there and shut it myself.”

Sitting on the fence in her own dimension she put a cigarette into her lips and lit it. She sat there blowing smoke into the air. Someday, she says, she will stop smoking. That's what she tells me. And I believe her. The sunlight glittered in her hair. She said, “Call me in for dinner, sweetheart,” and we both laughed darkly, in low conspiracy, because I have never cooked dinner for my wife.

Still laughing a little, I twisted the hot metal window-knob back the other way until the window made a neat satisfying click, fitting snugly into its frame, as if everything were right in the world.

 

Kevin Spaide is a writer from upstate New York living in Ireland. His last story for VerbSap was Morton Warner.


Photo "Girl With Tulips" courtesy of Kadri Poldma, Tallinn, Estonia.

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