He is back from the war. A temporary thing, a snatched mercy, a future memory to conjure.

Sunlight enters the room through the louvred shutters, breaking up the milky morning light like knives. A line of brilliance lies across his face, illuminating the lines around his eyes, between his brows. His face is tanned by the powder flash of the gun he mans. She lies on her side and watches him.

“Don’t stare so.”

She places a hand onto the cover that hides his chest.

“You were in my dream,” she tells him. “Last night, I dreamt of you.”

He doesn’t move, not even his eyes. He lies still beneath the cover, the shaft of light slashing his face.

She presses on with her telling.

“I dreamt that I was making you smell my hair aggressively.”

“You wanted me to be aggressive? To smell your hair aggressively?”

It’s as though the voice comes from elsewhere in the room, he is so still.

“No. I was aggressive. I demanded that you smell my hair.”

Her hair was loose in the dream and smelled of meadows. She wishes he would loosen it now from its braid. She wishes he would touch her.