She stepped out of the hot shower, not refreshed, but weary with the thoughts of the day ahead. She dried off, slowly and methodically, her mind elsewhere on the million things she had to do. She stepped up to the foggy mirror and hesitated with her hand hovering above its surface. She wiped it off and stood looking at her naked reflection.
She took it all in - the sad, tired eyes, the bumps and bulges and wrinkles and stretch marks where none used to be. She ran her hands over her body, wishing she could repaint herself with the brush of youth. Her mind flashed to her younger days when she would prance around in front of the man she loved, without a stitch of clothing nor a care in the world. These days, she'd rather hide in a potato sack.
She shivered, her skin raised in goosebumps. She pictured the look on her lover's face all those years ago, when he'd seen her undressed for the very first time. That look of love, awe, and admiration of her beauty. And beneath it all, that darker look of possession and hunger, knowing that she was his, body and soul.
She shook her head to clear her mind, thinking that she would never inspire those kinds of looks anymore. Those days are over. Who would want this? she thought. She quickly dressed, keeping her eyes averted from the mirror, knowing that it would only reflect back her insecurity and disgust.
As she turned, she caught a glimpse of someone in the doorway. It was her man, and she wasn't sure how long he'd been standing there. She blushed and looked away, afraid he could read her eyes, afraid to find rejection in his. He stood quietly, motionless. She felt his eyes on her. He tipped a finger under her chin and brought her face up to his. With her eyes closed, she took a deep breath, and then met his gaze. They looked at one another for an endless moment. She stood still, afraid to breathe, her hair curling from the lingering steam. And what she saw when she allowed herself to relax warmed her heart. The look from years gone past - the love and awe and appreciation of her body and the hunger - they were all there. They had always been there. But there was another emotion that took her breath away.
In his eyes, she saw the tenderness of all the years that had passed. Every moment they had shared, every struggle, every triumph. Every tear, every whisper, every embrace.
He looked at her as if she were the only woman in the world. The only one he wanted. And when she looked back at him, the mirrors of his beautiful eyes, she allowed herself to see what he saw. He wrapped his arms around her, so warm and secure. She buried her face in his neck, breathing in the scent that always brought comfort to her heart.