the book of embraces, chapter princess Laine

She was the best girlfriend he never had. She was long like a gazelle. She wasn’t obviously graceful; nor clumsy, as many tall girls are. She was strong and physically insistent and transparent at the same time. She could sit in his lap without seeming to be any bigger than a cat. She could get in his lap as insistently as a cat.

She made foreign dishes for the first time like she was from other countries. She made pieces of things: ceramics, clothing, letters, collages—without seeming to try. She was a natural born do-er. Nothing could frustrate her because she would conquer it without even ever declaring war.

She took him to lunch often as he was poor, or just coffee as he fancied this drink. They saw each other every day. The met like that often. He remarked that it was just like they were boyfriend and girlfriend. She agreed that it was just like that.

Everyone called her Princess Ember. They didn’t do it the way most people say “princess” to be an insult. They said it for the opposite reason. She did everything for her friends and she was more what people mean when they say “prince.”

She sneaked into his bed on winter nights wearing french-cut underwear and a T-shirt; pressing against him without restricting him at all. He never kissed her or pulled away. And on the morning when there was snow outside that Northern New Mexico window of a friend’s house, they just sat together by the stove watching the snow and feeling dazzled by how romantic it was to wake up on a morning like that with a person so thoroughly enjoyed. She never won her war on him though.

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