I’ve Got You

“I’ve got you.”

He had said it a thousand times, and it was the only thing she could hear these days that didn’t make her want to flinch. Everyone else had words to give, but they were far more hollow. “I’m so sorry; my heart goes out to you; my thoughts are with you; what a terrible loss — if you need anything…” Of course, everyone means well, in these times. No one says anything to the grief-stricken that would be intentionally hurtful; in fact, most go out of their way to be as kind and mundane as possible, to say nothing that could possibly be mistaken as insensitive.

He never walked on eggshells with her, however. He never treated her with kid gloves. He wasn’t especially gentle. He wasn’t some overly-kind, solicitous ass-kissing fool. He was just himself.

“I’ve got you.”

It was a promise, every time he picked her up. It was a promise, every time he let her slide in past him, into the diner booth. It was a promise every time the phone rang, and the letterslot flapped, and the email beeped, and the hair on the back of her neck prickled up.

It was perfect.

She would never hear it again.

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