She led him up a set of curving stairs flanked by a banister rich and gleaming with deep golden tones. The texture was smooth under his fingertips as he trailed them upon the wood trying hard to concentrate on anything other than where she might be leading him. For all the strange and unspoken trust between them he couldn’t help but feel out of place now, as though he had good reason to be afraid of her and what she intended. Strange, he thought, that he – a grown man- would be afraid of this petite woman leading him even further into her home. He was not the vulnerable one here, was he?
When she paused abruptly, he accidentally bumped into her and recoiled in alarm. He looked at her, trying his best to gauge her response, while he murmured his excuses and apologies. She seemed to want little of it and placed a hand upon his arm telling him not to worry. That she trusted him. Then she moved away from him, flicking on a light that cast the hallway into harsh contrasts of illumination and shadows.
Something pulled him forward and into that luminous, ivory and white room. It looked soft and feminine with its gold accents and warm tones while the scent of something like honeysuckle hung in the air. He could see the fine tremble of her hands as she fumbled within a drawer removing some disposable razors still hermetically sealed in their packaging while a set of scissors were even now being laid upon the stone colored counter top as well. She pulled still more things from their little places in the room; shaving cream, a wrapped bar of French milled soap, and a couple containers of what he assumed to be shampoo and conditioner. Susan excused herself for a moment, leaving him standing alone in the softly lit bathroom looking in the mirror.
The beard was longer than he had thought it to be, fairly traveling down to his collar bone now. How long had it been since he had given so much as a glance at his reflection in a window, he wondered. He thought for sure it had been several months- his beard had been much shorter then. But to recall that memory, to think upon how fresh on the streets he had been, was also to bring memories to light of being freshly shaved. Of having a home. A family.
He jumped when she suddenly reappeared with what looked like clothing in her hands. She told him to please take as much time as he would like then silently closed the door.