The condition of her roof, for example, had become a source of mild panic. Other items on the list of irreconcilable disturbances included her fifteen year old car, her weight, and the accumulation of leaves along the outside of her fence. Over a foot thick and growing. At what point would they rot into ever higher dirt and the outside world could merely step over the bit of wire still showing?
It’s not the roof, she reminded herself tiredly. The dull crush in her chest, centered between her shoulders and lying just above her breasts, came from other more endemic sources. Genes? Diet?
She could no longer wear jeans. That was cause enough.
There was no cause. It was always there, waiting like a hungry wolf to eat her days and haunt her nights. Sometimes the wolf’s teeth gleamed at her, the only thing she could see.
Oh, she gathered her jewels to her, gripped them in her hands. Shining emeralds the color of spring grass, azure clumps of lapis gleaming like the midday sky. Was it greed that drove the wolf? More, always more?
Once she had a love. They lay among the stars. They nestled in deep warm grass, his arms the bed she always wanted, a bed of comfort and promise. He lay over her with silken skin. His eyes took her into the far universe where all answers were given.
All answers. The only bed she wanted. Silken skin that whispered in her ear and spread her thighs with the most rapturous adventure.
So much more. Years flying past, faster until the end waited just around the corner. So much to do that would never be done—the Gobi not seen, the yacht on the Mediterranean, the long sunny days on a beach somewhere with waves crashing and receding, crashing and receding.
A man who wanted her. Who was what he promised. Who held his power in his hands and lightning bolts sparked from his fist. That man. The man that never was.
Tears. The roof, the weight. The thin edge maneuvered each day between what she had and what she needed. Worry. Wait.
There will be no end to it. If he came back, she wouldn’t want him. He’s broken. He’s what he always was that she never knew. He’s the dream made flesh and discarded. He’s a promise that could never come true.
It’s not him.
It’s the wolf inside her. Long, lean, gray. Skulking around the fenceline, waiting for the dirt to rise.