He liked it when she let her hair down. Liked it when she put it up. Something about the motion of it, he said. The way her arms framed her face. He liked the way her head tilted when she took out her earrings at the end of the day, and the way she held her silverware, so prim and proper, like a lady, he said grinning, stabbing at his dinner with his elbows raised. He liked the slant of her cursive. Loved the way she said his name, even when she was angry and especially when she was tired. He would tell her these things when they first began dating, and she never realized how much it affected her to have someone notice all the mundane choreography she’d developed subconsciously over the years. And even after they got married, especially when they were first living together, discovering the deep pockets of each other’s habits, he would celebrate each pattern he found. It’s so cute how you take out your left contact before your right one, he pronounced on more than one occasion. She basked in his enjoyment, his feeling of luckiness that pervaded from the beginning of the relationship. And she did not argue with it.
But now that he was gone, she found that she had never noticed his small movements. She became obsessed with trying the dredge up memories of minutia so she could miss them, but over and over she realized she simply could not recall his techniques of shaving or where he put his keys after work or what he wore to mow the lawn. She knew his favorite breakfast food should pang her when she ate it, but she did not know whether to cry over eggs or pancakes. And so she cried over both, rubbing her knuckles hard across her front teeth, a habit left over from childhood. There was no one left to pull her hand away now.