I was so in love: I listened to his messages on my answering machine again and again, mooned over every tan Nissan that looked like his, carried breath spray in my pocket, left notes in his shoes. When I strapped on my seatbelt and the straps brushed my breasts, I thought of him. All spring my body was strung with a filigree of Christmas lights, those tiny clusters that blink on and off.



He knew that sex sometimes scared me, and that I loved birds, and so when we were about to make love for the first time, and I stepped out of the bathroom naked, I saw he’d lined the floor around the bed with small porcelain statues: sparrows, cardinals, hummingbirds, doves.



I couldn’t wait for him to walk in the door — I wanted his palm to rest on my head — so I ran to his car, and we hugged so hard we crushed the daffodils he’d brought. The cellophane crinkled against my ribs. He wouldn’t let go. Finally we went into the kitchen, and I snipped stems off the flowers and thanked him and put them in a vase. At work he mixed cement, but when he came to see me, he carried Jergens lotion in his car: “All day long I touch concrete. I want my hands to be soft when I touch you.”



One day I went to the city, where he was working on a construction job. There was no chance of meeting him — he was on a deadline — but I thought, He’s here. My body knew he was only a few blocks away. I imagined him measuring beams or lengths of electrical cable, or taking a break, eating a tomato sandwich. I felt radiant. The same sun that shone on my hair shone on his.