Another one from me oh man. This is definitely my favorite thing I've written this year, and honestly continue to like it months after I've written it. Also about misunderstanding in relationship dynamics, also a quickie. Spoiler: a The silence is rancorous. They live in an apartment by the beach. Usually, the silence isnâ€™t there; itâ€™s hidden underneath the clamor of tourists, of the high school students with sunscreen and Red Bull. Yet now, it all fades away, ghosts of the cigarette smoke that hang above their faces. Itâ€™s nothing but wisps now. One of them shifts in the bed. He doesnâ€™t know if itâ€™s his body drawing closer to her, or her pulling back. His eyes are closed, so he canâ€™t really see her. Yet he can see her behind his eyelids. He can see her in between his fingernails, even in the dirtied folds of the pants he wore the day before. He wonders if she can see him too. Perhaps she can see the quiver of his nose as heâ€™s about to laugh, her eyes hiding beneath her bangs. She may see his chubby stomach as her sand filled fingernails burrow through the laundry in those early Saturday morning cleanings. Maybe, just maybe, she can even see him when heâ€™s not there, when heâ€™s lost beneath clouds of alcohol and stale smoke. But that does not mean she wants to touch him. She rolls her head to the opposite end of her pillow, eyes closed. Sheâ€™s staring at him from nothing. Heâ€™s there, she can see him; but she does not want to touch him. She does not want to feel his flesh. The touch of his skin reminds her of her father, the long nights of harsh words and drunken stupor. She doesnâ€™t remember much of her actual father; he is lost to her, has been since she was first born. All she knows is the mask he hides behind, the one of empty beer bottles and the weed that sent her mother insane. She does not want to touch that man, nor this one beside her now. His skin against her only serves to make her collapse into herself, to realize this life is nothing but the same beat of the surf against the foundations of the house. They shift towards each other. He reaches out to her, but she does not take him. Their eyes are still closed, but they see each other all too clearly.