by Gita M. Smith

What surprises her most about marriage is how much she likes the coziness, something that had been absent from her single life.

Had you asked her in her twenties if she craved coziness, she would have said, “irrelevant,” and moved on to the next guy in the next bar, the one who looked like danger on a stick.

This, though -- this nudge and tuck of togetherness in the bed, this yearning to lean in towards each other when talking, this folding sheets together so that the corners fit -- is more than the sum of small actions.

She feels stirrings of memory from a time when the world was safe, when father and mother were in the house and she snuggled deep into her small bed while snow fell outside. That right there — that feeling of complete protection — can it ever be fully recovered?

Mornings, when the sun slopes through their east-facing window, she runs words through her mind-mill, shedding husks, seeking the one that means “surprising happiness.”