Who’s the mother?
The lightbulb was shut, a faint orange gleam dying with every passing moment. From their bed, Yuri gestured to it with her free hand.
“It was worth it, don’t you think? Living here, I mean. I like this place, even if it’s a bit hard to clean.”
Rei looked into her eyes, past the glasses, past the brown irises, trying to gain entry into what other people called “the soul”.
Moving out of their homes. Places of luxury and comfort, abandoned, sacrificed for something deemed much more worthy: living together.
“Yes,” she whispered. “It’s worth it.”
For a long time, they stared at the bulb, not meeting each other’s eyes. Lost in thought. Rei couldn’t stand it anymore.
She buried her head in Yuri’s chest, snuggling in. It wasn’t the first time for both of them. Theirs was a storied history, but it had been Yuri who came to her, pierced that flimsy barrier that she had put up for many years… Maybe, Rei thought, maybe she could repay her.
Yuri didn’t even flinch, wrapping her arms around Rei. Just like that, Rei felt like a child again in her arms, vulnerable. Yuri always made her feel that way. Her bosom would make you dream, then charm you into sleep.
“If…” Rei’s words died like a stalling engine. “If… we ever get married, you’ll be the mother.”
There was a giggle, followed by a sniff. Tears? Oh, she made her cry again. Rei shut her own eyes tightly. Yuri’s arm left her, presumably to wipe her own eyes.
Didn’t she open up old wounds? Neither of their mothers still walked this world. Rei wondered which of them was lonelier for it—she, whose birthing had cost her her mother’s life? Or Yuri, whose mother’s death a memory too painful to revisit? At least Yuri had known her mother. Seen her. Felt her.
But Rei never had to contend with such a betrayal. No one deserved to see such dainty feet, dangling from the ceiling, suspended by despair, pulled down by a mortal weight. Not Yuri.
“Is that so?” Yuri’s voice was softer. She stroked Rei’s hair, fingers nearly touching the nape of her neck, which smelled like flowers.
“Alright!” The affirmation rang too loudly, like a rebellion against the silence. Just like that, the aura of gloom lifted.
“It was just to cheer you up. Don’t get the wrong idea,” Rei mumbled to Yuri’s chest. “I was just joking…”
Her voice trailed off, as sleep came.
Yuri’s lips caressed Rei’s hair, as she tightened her warm embrace. Rei liked to be held. Like this. What a silly girl. She wouldn’t be able to move, if she wanted to get up. She wouldn’t dare disturb her.
“But I wish you weren’t.” The reply arrived, unheard.