THOSE WERE HAPPY DAYS
by Tari Gwaemir
Even now, there are moments when her face freezes while her voice remains smiling, as if someone paused the video but forgot to disconnect the sound. He hears the light modulations of tone and volume, compares it to the unchanging blankness that has fallen over her like a mask...he holds his breath and draws back, his heart in his throat. Then she punches him in the arm and grins--"Are you listening to me, Hayama?"--and he relaxes slowly, one long exhale of relief.