A Chair by the Window

Berwald tends to get quiet when he sits in the chair by the window. I don't know why. He probably wouldn't tell me if I asked, and so I've never raised the issue.

Because I know there are some things about Be I'll never get, like when and why I became the wife, why he always treated me so respectfully when he didn't have to, why he adopted Peter and has always wanted a family. Mainly I'll never understand why he picked me.

Sometimes he looks out the window; today his back is to it. So I walk up to him quietly, the sound of Peter and Hanatamago out back playing drifting in. He doesn't look up when I come to stand beside him, but he does lean back, spreading his legs just a little. I sit in his laps, legs draped over one of his strong ones, and press our foreheads together. That's when I see his eyes are closed and it makes me smile, because a mischievous little thought comes into my head.

My hands gently work off his glasses, a slight upturned corner of that Swedish mouth that loves me just right betraying my husband's amusement. He sighs as his arms come to wrap around my waist, and so I wrap mine around his neck, holding our faces close.

"I love you," I whisper in Finnish, because Be actually prefers to speak to me in that language. It's my language, unique, one I couldn't speak with a lot of people when we lived in Denmark and then in Sweden. I never even noticed him learning it behind my back, until one day he asked me to pass him the butter in poorly-pronounced Finnish.

Yeah, I remember because I had liked that butter plate I broke when he spoke. He still teases me for it.

But I think what Be loves most about speaking Finish is so few of our friends understand it; well, actually, none of them. There's me, and there's Be, and that's it. Like our own little language, we can say whatever we want whenever we want and no one else will understand. Peter knows a word now, here or there, but we decided if he could learn Swedish that'd be enough.

As for me and Be, we speak Finish. So I repeat myself, "I love you so much Be," and he moves so our noses rub against each other.

And then he moves again and finds my mouth and he's such a sweet kisser, gentle and slow and all mine. Part of me wants to giggle but the part of me that says that'd ruin the mood overrides that instinct. So instead I let him kiss me, deeply, because he needs it, until he pulls back and opens those unfocused eyes. He smiles softly at me.

"Want to share?" I ask, though I know the answer already. The same as always.

He pecks my lips. "I love you." I've never figured out if when he says that he means because I'd said I love him, or if that was meant to be an answer to my question.

"Want lunch?" I offer hopefully. He holds me tight before leaning back, his hands finding my arms to get his glasses back.


Berwald is quiet to begin with, but it's a different kind of quiet at the window. As I look back on my way to the kitchen, he sighs deeply, spins his wedding ring once, then looks out the window and smiles. A thousand more years and I may never have an answer to the unspoken question, but at least I'll still have Be in a chair by the window.