She stopped herself as his silence filled the car. Forehead to forehead and nose to nose, they breathed softly in turns. Inhale, exhale, exhale, inhale.

“I’m not as strong as you think I am,” she began, a grace note of pleading slipping into her voice. Don’t hurt me. Don’t forget me. Don’t leave me. Don’t get mad at me. Don’t lean too hard on on me. Don’t expect me to be big and strong and brave. Don’t don’t don’t don’t…

She stopped short, recognizing the words but not the voice. Or maybe the voice and not the words?

“But…I’m also not as weak as think I am.”

Cadenza.

Rest.

Da capo al fin.

She stopped her…

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