Day #8: Marina
There was a certain comfort about waking up to the quiet sight of curtains, sheer and still against the morning sun. Marina always took the soft light of post-dawn as a sign that the day will be gentle to her, that it will be effortless, to her favor and to her liking. A day of kindness, a day sans judgement.
This morning was different: the first thing she saw when she opened her eyes wasn’t the immobile delicateness of her hotel curtains. It was Hai, sleeping like a baby beside her in bed —naked, smooth and startlingly dark against the wrinkled white duvet.
He was curled up and limp, and she watched his mouth gape and sag in the way one does when in deep and delicious slumber, and for a moment, Marina felt confused. She was certain that Hai had not spent the night.
And then she remembered, fuzzily, the small events of that morning. How, just as the sun was about to come up, Hai had gone in quietly into the room with the key she’d given him yesterday. How he’d undressed so effortlessly as he slipped under the covers beside her, murmuring something about a room and a backpacker.
She had barely been awake then, but now was she was up. After a thorough brushing of her teeth and a quick splash of water on her face, her mind had pieced the events together. Hai had been working the whole night in Muong Thanh, yes, and had spent an hour at the bus terminal to get newly-arrived Hue tourists to book the cheap rooms at his other workplace, that backpacker hostel.
She crept back in bed, slipped back under the covers, and marveled at all the things he had done—all while she was sleeping. She glanced at the curtains and the yellow light that was streaming through, getting brighter by the minute. Her first day in Hue, she decided, would be with Hai. Someone who desired her, someone who wanted her, and perhaps, finally, someone who cared. Today, maybe she could have a thing that most took for granted in this world: someone who loved them, and something normal.