Disclaimers: (sigh) Don't own them--just enjoy fiddling around with the critters on an occasional basis.

Pairings: None
Warnings: None

by D.C. Logan

I love watching him fold his clothes.

It wasn't a sudden revelation. The thought didn't arrive in my head along with trumpets or chimes. It was just one of those moments that happen--one of the millions that you don't expect and more than likely just allow to slip on by.

No, it wasn't anything I'd planned for. I stopped by after work to pick up his keys and get instructions on how to handle his mail and messages while he was away. After taking two wrong turns and driving slowly by his unit to double check the apartment number on the door, I'd knocked, and he'd surprised me by leaning out of an upper-story window and looking down at me. His face looked different with gravity in front of it--his hair an irregular halo.

"It's unlocked, come on up."

He met me at the top of the stairs. "Now that's a sound I haven't heard often."

"What? A knock at the door?"

He nodded, waved me over to an empty chair with his jacket slung over it, and turned back to his packing. There was a pile of clean laundry in a crumple on the carpeting by his feet. As I watched, he retrieved an article from the pile, folded it precisely, and stacked the finished and folded clothes in a balanced stack to his right. Pick up, shake, check for a probable previous stain that I couldn't see, and then fold. It was an intimate and private shared moment--watching him inspect and care for his clothes. The pile disappeared as I watched.

We didn't talk, comfortable enough with each other to simply be in the same room, accepting the simple lack of need to hold up either end of a conversation. Quiet and peaceful. I loved seeing him like this, doing simple everyday tasks, routines, and daily behaviors that bled all intensity out of him and allowed the man under the daily veneer of stress and complication to rise to the surface.

A suitcase was retrieved and set on the floor, a token recognition of my presence?as it would have made more sense to have packed using his bed as a sorting platform. After a moment?s reflection, I considered that he might have found that idea awkward given the limited ground we'd covered.

He packed a small travel case--folding underwear into the bottom of it over his shoes. Setting shirts and slacks and a small bathroom kit over the top of that. It didn't look like it would be enough to carry him through the upcoming week. He counted off the changes of clothes with his fingers, naming off the days softly to himself as he did so. Satisfied with his arithmetic, he closed the case and snicked the zipper around all three sides before righting the case and turning to face me.

I ventured a comment. "You pack light."

A nod in agreement before, "You want something to drink?"

I looked around the space he'd chosen to live in, one cluttered with the paperwork of a busy life and little time at home to worry about the details and presentation of his space. I was an insider, I was welcome there, I felt privileged.

He walked out to his cab thirty minutes later. During the time I spent in his house...with him, we?d probably spoken no more than a dozen sentences to each other.

Do you have any idea how rare it is for me to find someone who is comfortable with my silences? A man confident enough within himself to share his quiet with me?

I watched him leave, nodding briefly to me as his cab pulled away from the curb.

And I fingered his keys in my pocket--still warm from the grip of his hand.


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