Amy would turn out the light and stand staring at the shadows on the floor or sit with her feet in the square of light from the street lamp. She would wriggle her toes in spotlight and dare him to kiss them, giggling.

Will wouldn’t know where she would want to go but he’d let her lead him to the car to drive, following her sporadic directions and whims. She would take him to some hidden metro gardens, or park on some graveled side-road. They would walk, hand-in-hand, to an overpass or bridge and watch the water move beneath them. She loved to watch things move and flow.

She never told him why she would get quiet and listen to the sound of bees humming or thunder, Will never asked. He enjoyed the feel of her hand tickling his arm or playing with the back of his neck. She listened to the sound with her eyes closed and said that they should never go silent - it was the sound of life to her.

Amy didn’t know how to fake a smile and didn’t understand why anyone would try to make someone cry.

At night she’d lie with her head on Will’s chest and gently stroke his shoulder. She said that she could hear secrets in his heartbeat - the rise of his chest in the night was like the ocean to her. The brushes of her hair on his bare skin made his head spin.

In the morning he’d wake to pancakes and coffee and kisses in the kitchen. She’d pull him to the floor, throw his clothes into the swath of sunlight, her fingers, sticky with syrup, in his hair as she kissed him.

Her anger was a flare of harsh words that faded into smoldering frustration. Will never tried to fight her, only sat in silence as her fury stormed around him. She was quick to forgive sins. She never apologized for hers and wouldn’t tolerate anyone bringing them up.

When Will picked her up at the hospital they told him it would take a very long time for her to come to grips with what happened. He thought, despite the violence of the situation, she had looked her ordeal in the face and had come through - whole.

The only time she cried about it was when she thought he wasn’t there. He watched quietly from the other room until she fell asleep and then snuck in and curled up beside her. Will never let her see him cry over the violation, he wanted to be her strength through the rape. Will wanted to be her strength.

The miscarriage was as violent and unexpected as the attack. She screamed from the other room but pushed against the door when he tried to get in.

“Stay out.” She shouted harshly. “I need some towels - Now!”

He complied and ran to the closet. He brought clean, fluffy towels that smelled like Downy. She threw them away when she was done with them.

Amy spent that night in the hospital and Will went home to gather some clothes.

Her jeans were still crumpled on the bathroom floor and he was horrified at the amount of blood in the crotch. It had soaked through the thick cloth and dried, dark black, on the outside. He threw them away after cleaning the bathroom. She wouldn’t have wanted to keep them after this, anyway. She had a way of knowing what a talisman of evil was and would not tolerate them anywhere near her.

In the weeks that followed she shied away from Will’s hands and stormed at him, thunderous shouts of anger, over the slightest infraction of her policies. Sometimes he wept openly after his futile attempts to make her happy. He longed for some forgiveness that never seemed to come. His pain seemed only an unwanted buzz in her ears

He tried to pull her out of herself again, pointing out the sky, or stopping on a whim beside of field of wildflowers. He hoped she might just get out of the car once and walk, kiss him, lay covered with pollen and chiggers, in the tall weeds.

But somehow everything that made her love him seemed to have drained away. He should never have started grieving while she was alive.

When Will found her in the bathroom, the last time, the blood was so dark that it looked like oil. Her face, pale and relaxed, slipped halfway below the surface and he could see her teeth stained red in her open mouth. Her eyes were closed.

He ran outside when the ambulance arrived and crouched in the front yard.

The sun, bright and indifferent, burned his face and he rocked back and forth on his heels while the sound of the bees slowly diminished into silence.

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