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A short phone call, or an even briefer text was all she needed to know that she was wanted; to affirm her existence. A shower and a quick drink – an intake of alcohol to loosen lips and deaden the senses – was all the preparation that was required. Perhaps a comb dragged through the hair; perhaps a quick spray of scent; maybe even new underwear. Nothing more was necessary.

He would come and then come again before the long hand had swept fifteen discarded minutes from the floor as if they were flakes of dead skin. Words were never more than pleasantries, never more than perfunctory. They hung between she and him like an embarrassment, squirming as if they had some other place to be; as if they wanted to be used for some purpose other than merely to fill the brief gaps between hands and flesh.

They moved clumsily, aggressively, drifting in and out of sync with one another until an uneasy climax planted a full stop between them. There was a moment’s silence, as each felt the other would pass comment: but neither ever did.

He would collect the clothes that he, in his urgency, had strewn on the bed, couch, chair or floor. Slipping on his shoes he would watch her briefly as she lay, or dressed, or stared, and then stand.

He closed the door behind him: he, on one side, breathing heavily, either in tiredness or disappointment, she, on the other, sated and hollow in equal measure.

 

© All original writing copyright Chris Nelson 2000-2019