His house is the same but different, a phantom lurking in the corners that I can't explain. What I remember to be tidy is in slight disarray. Not a mess, just enough to suggest other chaos. Already, I'm lost in my thoughts.
Then, he clears his throat from across the room. He's standing just inside the powder room door, waiting patiently. “Jessamine.”
The one word – my own name! – startles me, makes me jump. No anonymity for me, apparently. “Oh.” I'm kind of glad he can't see how embarrassed I am. Get a grip, Jessamine. Stumbling over thin air, I make my way over to him.
“Sit on the counter, please,” he says.
“I can clean my own hand perfectly fine.”
Both my protests and the notion of him having to do such a thing for me are childish, but he simply ignores it. “Sit,” he tells me again, and I listen because I don't seem to have another option. He wets a small towel in the sink and holds his hand out to me. I place my hand in his again, and he tells me to let him know if he hurts me.
He washes the blood and dirt away with a feather light touch, revealing the true nature of the wound. I can't bare to watch, though it looks more gruesome than it is. When it's definitely clean, he brushes his thumb over my palm. I tense when he touches the raw skin.
“Does it sting?”
“Yes,” I whisper.
He nods and reaches into the cabinet beneath me, pulling out a box of band-aids.
“You don't have to do this.”
“Jessa, it's fine.” My breath hitches at the sound of his nickname for me. When was the last time he called me that? “I do have a little experience with taking care of injuries while blind. Specifically my own. Besides, it's one of the things I know I can still do.” He smiles before kissing the bandage. “There. A cleaning, a bandage, and a kiss to make it better. Any other injuries?”
I know he's just being playful. Just like old times, when the world was still filled with color for both of us.“No... nowhere else. Thank you, Isaiah. Really.” My fingers brush his arm when I push off the counter and make my escape.
“Jessamine?” he says just as my fingers touch the knob of the front door.
“Yes?” I say around the lump in my throat. When did that get there?
“I miss you.”
It hangs in the air for a moment. “I miss you too.” The words leave my lips, a breath and not a whisper, and then I'm out the door.