An earlier version of this short story was published under pseudo in Marco Polo Art Mag here
During the robbery Rich had been sliced open like a watermelon with his paunch leaking out on the kitchen marble. With the clarity and courage that accompanied the hot shot of adrenaline he had pushed Nina’s body out of striking distance. Rich knew the pain of the cold knife would be subdued quicker than the regret of seeing it in Nina, as it separated her taut flesh over and over again in the play back of the mind.
True, their relationship was faulty at best, but the event (as she kept calling it) brought them closer together. Now they had words to fill the empty atmosphere that hung low above their bed. The queen size occupied the absolute middle of the room, as the rule of long-term monogamy would have it. Matching bedside tables flanked each side. It was an area not to be trespassed on, the last sphere of themselves. Separate. But even that sphere was shrinking. The words that would fill the space between Rich and her came from the mouths of those drawers in the language of romance novel narratives. Nina had the habit of keeping those dreams to herself as she ran her fingers along the print in the light of her table-side lamp.
She closed her book. She kissed his scar, even smiled at it, as if it were proof of just how far he would go for her. It was a test. Nina loved tests. She tested it with the kid conversation. “Honey…” she said looking up with her head to one side.
True, he hadn’t a reason against it–the money was coming in at his uptown architecture firm, and hell, even the house was paid off. They had been engaged for almost five years now. Rich wanted to keep all the doors open behind him, just in case. The problem with life, he thought, was that yes to one thing meant no to another.
His friends and family and every acquaintance in the entire Midwest were against him. There he was, being pushed through the funnel of time. Out the other side, there he was, sitting with a kid upon his knees. Rich conceded then they rolled over each other. Whole. And he felt a prong of fear when he finished in her.
Following the robbery they decided to get a dog. It was a fierce little thing but they slept better at night both feeling secure but for completely different reasons.