The pre-dawn wind was bitterly cold as we trundled the crates of fish to the co-op market by the docks. The small fry had already been distributed to the crew, and once the salable fish were delivered, Kazu went home to cook our breakfast.
I hadn’t known Kazu before the disaster. After, we met while cleaning up the debris. We’d decided to pool our resources and buy one new boat with the insurance payment for our two destroyed old boats. Our crew were all seasoned local veterans and we were slowly rebuilding the livelihood we had lost. The lives we had lost — our parents, wives, children — we tried not to think about too much.
One night when we were somewhat drunk, he’d placed a hand on my thigh at the noodle shop. I didn’t move away. It had felt good to be touched again. When he hinted that he wanted more, I invited him back to my place, the temporary housing five doors down from his. It was a totally new experience for me but somewhere between the lust and pleasure, I realized it was exactly what I needed.
Finished with the sales, I hurried home in the early morning light. The aroma of grilled fish and hot soup and rice greeted me. As we ate, I turned on the TV. The talk show panelists were discussing the progress of restoration in our area. I changed the channel.
Tired but with full bellies, I washed the dishes while he relaxed for a bit. Then he drew the curtains to block the sunlight and spread out our futon. I joined him a minute later, backing against his warmth.
“You wanna?” I asked.
“Nah. Not today.”
He held me tightly, though, and that was enough. I had everything I needed.