His deep, gentle voice emerges in solitude from the shadows of her cramped dormitory room. In the distance of her light slumber she had sensed his presence, first knocking gently on the bedroom door; then after a silent moment, entering and taking a seated position on the floor, arm perched upon the bed for support. Chin upon elbow he came to rest, eyes gazing upon her soft, familiar features.
“you smell like smoke,” she murmured. Her eyes remained gently closed as she imbibed his presence. A faint hint of gin lay restless on his breath.
He drew closer without a word.
Though another soul might have divined accusation, he knew better. The smell of cigars brought her back to an idyllic childhood, when her father would return home from an evening smoke and embrace her in his arms. She cherished those memories.
From nearby streetlamps emanated a parsimonious, yellow light, which filtered through the swaying branches of stoic trees and cast long, playful shadows about the room. She opened her eyes slowly – one at a time – and smiled.
“have fun tonight?”
“it’s cold out.”
“yes, it is. did I wake you?”
“nearly. i wasn’t quite asleep yet.”
The two lovers exchanged whispers as though they risked waking the sun.
“i brought you something.”
He reached into his weathered pea coat and produced a small object, wrapped in crinkled newspaper. Unfolding the paper gently, he revealed a delicate, glass dolphin figurine, which he placed gingerly on the bed beside her.
“i love dolphins,” she barely mouthed her exclamation as she smiled, yawned, and closed her eyes, snuggling once more into the pink cotton comforter.