Alex’s POV

I sat in the hotel room wondering where Anjali was. I couldn’t handle the small room and being caged in anymore so I decided to leave the room and walk around the hotel hoping to find her.  I noticed the empty bottle of Chardonnay in the room and if she had managed to polish the whole bottle I doubted she was at the bar.  She was probably having a cup of coffee or walking off the stupor on the beach.  So I decided to head down stairs and look for her because sitting and waiting was making me anxious.

I took the elevator down and walked to the café but I didn’t see Anjali.  The beach it is.  I walked outside and took off my shoes, rolled up my pants and started walking down the beach hoping to see her.  The cool and fresh air felt good after being cooped up in the room for so long.

As I was walking I saw a couple slip their arms around each other as they were walking on the beach.  Their back was to me, but I could tell by the way the hooked their arms around each other they were familiar with each other.  You can always see the awkwardness of a new couple or the familiarity of a couple who has been together for a long time.  This couple obviously had been together for a while.

Their familiarity with each other reminded me of the little habits that Anjali had with me, that came with the passage of time and the ease of being with each other.  Anjali had always been shy and uncomfortable with PDA, but as we spent more time together she let her inhibitions slip and her moves always let me know what mood she was in.

I always know when Anjali is in a giddy mood because as soon as she sees me she loops two of her fingers and her thumb around my belt loops, stands on her tippy toes, and pulls herself toward me and kisses me.  Since I’m almost always wearing pants with belt loops, whether my suits during the week or jeans on the weekend, it’s easy for her to do.  I know she usually wants to go out or is in a teasing mood when she greets me that way.

On the other hand when she’s in a more serious mood, she places her left hand around my neck and her right hand over my heart.  She would always tell me, “I like putting my hand on your heart and hearing it beat.  It makes me feel like I’m connected to you.”

When you’re together with someone for so long and you’re so connected to them, you can communicate so much without ever speaking a word.  The pulling of my belt loops, the hand on my heart were the small things that Anjali meant when she talked about the small things in a relationship being important.  These were some of her signature gestures that I had so grown accustomed to and look forward to. 

Except it had been a long time since I’d come home at a decent hour to greet Anjali.  There hadn’t been an opportunity in months for her to pull me in to kiss me or to put her hand on my heart.

I placed my hand on my heart and I realized how much I missed Anjali and what I wouldn’t do to have her hand on my heart right now telling me how we are connected.  It’s not like our marriage is perfect or we’ve never fought – we fight just like any other couple, but there have only been only a few times when my heart has ached – ached because the trouble we were in was serious and I didn’t know if our relationship could hold up against the obstacle.  Unfortunately, that ache was back and I was so worried.

The ache made me remember the first time that I felt this way.

After Anjali had come to my place on her own accord and spent the night we had many more mornings together.  After that most weekends Anjali stayed at my place or I was at her place.  We developed a comfortable pattern with each other.  I gave her keys to my apartment shortly thereafter.  I hadn’t done that with anyone in a long time.  But, I liked it when she would come over to my place and surprise me.  Sometimes she would cook an elaborate meal and I’d come home from work to Anjali cooking away a storm and the aroma filling the entire apartment and hallway.  Other times I would discover notes or little surprises all over my apartment that she had placed while I was out of town. 

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