We sit quietly together on the back porch in matching white wooden rocking chairs. My knees are pulled into my chest, my hands cupping a warm mug of coffee as they pull my shins closer. The air is cool, barely 60 degrees this morning.
I rock slowly, lost in thought, the sound of my chair the only competition with the birds and the river. So much has changed. He has been here one week today and I feel a sense of camaraderie just sitting with him. I feel safe for the first time in weeks, but it’s more than that. In so many ways he’s become a true friend.
I rest my head on my thighs, glancing surreptitiously at him. Using my long brown hair to conceal my eyes, I watch him sitting as still as a statue.
Most would see a strong, ruggedly handsome 40-something man with close-cropped grey hair, his lean muscles rippling under his white t-shirt, his square jaw shadowed with stubble. The dark circles under his eyes are the only indication that anything is amiss.
I see more. I see a man who has given his life to protect others. I see a man who has sacrificed his dreams so that others can follow theirs. I long to reach out, to ease his tension somehow, but I hold back afraid to reciprocate the comfort he has given me.
He is always on alert and this morning is no exception. Although he appears relaxed I know he is ready to spring into action at any moment.
How much longer will it be until our plan works and we can be done hiding? How long is he willing to stay locked away here with me? In other circumstances this would be an ideal location for a relaxing vacation, but instead this cabin has become our prison. I fear he’ll lose patience and leave. There’s nothing keeping him here.
His chair creaks as he stands. Without a word he starts his rounds, checking for trouble at the front of the cabin. I close my eyes, listening to his footsteps as they follow the wrap-around porch to the side of the house.
I can barely hear him anymore when suddenly there’s a loud crack and then screaming as if someone were in agony. My heart stops. It’s time. He’s here.
This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Camaraderie and is part of something longer I am working on.