Relaxing

With Henry she didn’t need to be polite or keep up a veneer of niceness. She could share her secret hobbies: her collection of card games and her love of medical complaints with bizarre names. At work she kept her legs crossed, her lipstick from her teeth and her facial expressions neutral. Her personality toned down to shades of beige. At home with Henry she slouched into sarcasm and stink. She curled up around her laptop and burrowed through the Internet like a rabbit, her nose twitching as she searched for another obscur illness to add to her collection.

“Rotator cuff impingement syndrome!” she shouted with glee, scanning the webpage for symptoms and cures, picking through personal accounts, while Henry fiddled with the workings of a Furby.

“Haemochromotosis!” she called out, as he got up to make them a coffee, she rolled the word around her mouth like a boiled sweet.

“I love how you get such joy from the suffering of others,” he had replied, kissing the top of her head as he passed and she smiled, knowing it was true.

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