He hugged her and lightly rubbed her, cursing her constantly, cursing the position she’d put him in. For a long time she didn’t get any warmer, kept falling asleep and barely waking up, but finally something clicked on inside her, and she began to shiver and clutch him. He kept rubbing and hugging, and then, all at once, her eyes were wide open and she was looking into him.
Her eyes weren’t blinking. There was still something almost dead in them, something very far away. She seemed to be seeing all the way through to the back of him and beyond, out into the cold space of the future in which they would both soon be dead, out into the nothingness that Lalitha and his mother and his father had already passed into, and yet she was looking straight into his eyes, and he could feel her getting warmer by the minute. And so he stopped looking at her eyes and started looking into them, returning their look before it was too late, before this connection between life and what came after life was lost, and let her see all the vileness inside him, all the hatreds of two thousand solitary nights, while the two of them were still in touch with the void in which the sum of everything they’d ever said or done, every pain they’d inflicted, every joy they’d share, would weigh less than the smallest feather on the wind.
“It’s me,” she said. “Just me.”