She clomped down the stairs, stopped midway, fingers feathering the battered, aged banister.  Cold light trickled through the stained glass on the landing.    

It was different this time; her relationships usually complicated. A glance, recognition from times past, coffee, and a walk along the river.  They moved in together.  The sex was good, not spectacular, but good.

Purple Martins greeted their mornings. Sunrises and lattes insulated them, sitting there on the deck, outside the bedroom overlooking the river. Conversation at times difficult, became stilted, cauterizing new found intimacy. . . .  

On the coffee table, sage lay in a cut-glass bowl. She lit it and left…. 

In came a young couple; child in arms. 

“What’s that smell?”         

“Sage.” he said.   


“Someone cleansed the house.”       


He walked to the banister and stroked the clear, unmarred wood. 

“This looks new.”

“It does.”


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