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Comfort to me

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Click, roll, there, the tumblers made their music as Wolfgang listened for the combination when another different clicking began. He turned and saw Nomi staring at him over her laptop, “Is that an actual safe lock?”

“Yes, it's easy to hear when it's right. What are you doing?” From where he’s sitting on the floor, all he can see is her tapping away.

“Something like that.”

The way she shrugged gave him a possible guess, “Breaking in?”

“No, just keeping ready in case I have to and it's relaxing.”

“Soothing to hear it work,” It's not a question. Nomi smiled in recognition at him getting it and he added, “Yes, it all clicks into place.”

“Ooh, a pun. I didn’t know you did those,” Now she was laughing at him and he sighed as the last tumbler slipped into place.

“I have a wonderful sense of humor,” He did, Felix was always smiling around him, clearly he did.

“A Teutonic one, glaciers move at the same pace.”

“Glaciers change what they pass over and they’ll kill you if you forget about them.”

“Hm, I like that. Wolfgang the human glacier who opens locks and makes women swoon or at least one,” Nomi nodded to herself, she liked the right words.

“Swoon?”

“It's a good word, it's a word for costumes and dramatic gestures. You’re good at those.”

“Not on purpose, I like to not be found out for what I’ve done,” If he had been able to plan stopping Kala’s wedding, clothing would have been involved.

“Of course not, but sometimes a little spotlight can be nice especially with how Kala looks at you. Or when you turn the spotlight on someone else, show the truth.”

“You do that?” He gestured at her computer, “Find justice?”

“Expose corruption and lies, all that’s hidden under the gloss of what society wants us to pretend isn’t there. Or what we don’t want to know about ourselves.”

“Oh that, I know myself well enough. I don’t need anyone else to know me that way.”

“Ah but you’re one of us and we do,” Nomi’s voice was teasing but her smile sincere as she looked at him. It was odd, he was so used to only Felix knowing him. Now there was this woman in San Francisco and Kala and all the others who didn’t look away.

*******

“Does he listen?” Lito found Ganesh’s gaze disconcerting, it reminded him of the Lady of Guadalupe statues and paintings that seemed to search for his soul which he knew didn’t look how it was meant to.

“Yes, what he does with it, that is in his divine judgement,” Kala was thoughtful as she spoke, her gaze comfortable on the statue, she looked at it like a friend. One of his Tia’s had done the same with the shrine to the Virgin that she had in her kitchen.

“And you trust him that much?” He trusts Hernando and Dani some, but God is there, watching and judging, not helping.

“Don’t you trust him to listen to you? That’s what gods are supposed to do. We must pay attention to our own karma but we can find ways to hear what they tell us.”

“I don’t hear him where the priests would want me to.”

“Hernando. Love is sacred.”

“Love within marriage, love in a family, that love is not two men. Not to my church. I go, because everyone goes. But you’re going into a marriage without love. What does he think?” Lito nodded to Ganesh who still calmly watched them and seemed the sort of god who would have opinions.

“Because there are many types of love, not all love comes at once. It didn’t for my parents. I know he loves me and will care for me through the years.”

“He makes sense and he’s what’s expected. Dani’s who I’m supposed to be with but I want Hernando,” It took him a few close calls to realize what he needed to make his image and his life be safer and that meant women dates.

“That’s different. She’s there to protect you, it's not marriage.”

“No, but marriage isn’t everything.”

“A true and fulfilled marriage brings us closer to god as another person completes us,” It sounded like a catechism, repeated again and again to make it her truth.

“Love doesn’t need marriage, love needs, I don’t know, safety,” He and Hernando have never had true security. They have money and work but there’s always a fear of being found out.

“Rajan’s safe and I know he wants to keep me safe.”

“But he doesn’t fill you up and complete you,” In Kala’s voice, Lito can hear that note of trying to convince herself. Over the years, he’s done it often enough to know when the person that needs the most persuading is yourself.

“In time, he will and…I know what to expect.”

Lito nodded and met Ganesh’s gaze as he said quietly, “Safe, happy, accepted, loved.”

******

The humidity pressed down on Kala as she walked towards home, her father would have the chai ready and stories of his day. At a busy intersection, she stopped as suddenly she was in a park beside Wolfgang who was watching children play in a concrete depression in the ground, “Won’t they be hurt?”

He turned at her voice and smiled, it was a small one, but she saw it, “Oh no, that’s what it's there for. To use. You can spy on the world from down there.”

“But it's not that low.”

“Different perspective, people go by and forget you’re there.”

“Yes, no one looks for you or at you unless you want them to. It was like that at my father’s cafe. I’d sit under the tables and watch.”

His smile grew and Kala felt her heartbeat get faster, his face changed and he seemed lighter, “You do understand. Only seen when and how you want to be.”

“But that spa, you were all just there and comfortable.”

“That’s only skin, not everything else,” He turned to look at her in the face and she sighed, there was so much else between them-Rajan, Wolfgang’s darkness, who they’re both meant to be and choosing to be.

“Everything else, yes,” She felt at ease with him and before she reached home, there would be time to walk in silence as the children laughed.