page 54

The first time you put her in the shower is the first time you make a mistake.

Are you crying?” you ask her, afterwards.

She sits opposite you on the wide shower floor, head draped between open knees, and doesn’t answer. The ends of her long hair sway in the rising swell formed by her blocking the drain with her ass.

In an hour she will be gone, and it’s hard to say if you will see her again or not. Knowing this, you lean back. Clasp your hands behind your head. Observe her from a new distance.

The falling water breaks hard against the long curve of her back.

(The falling water breaks hard against the long curve of my back, and from somewhere inside, an unknown stranglehold breaks.

Not because I want it to or even because I consider it a wise decision.

Simply because

…the man took a skean to my chest in the shower and carefully tore away the flesh and bone and tissue until my heart was just a soft, juicy pulp in his hands…

No. Stop that.
What really happened?
He touched me with a gentleness that I have never known.
It was the most exquisite of pains.
That’s better. So what happens now?
I have no idea. What happens now?)

“What happens now?” you ask, walking her across the street to her car. Her hair is still wet and she carries her shoes in one hand.

“I drive home,” she answers plainly.

After she leaves you’ll turn your phone back on and resume your actual life.

She unlocks the car, throws her shoes to the seat opposite, and climbs in behind the wheel. All without once looking at you. She reaches out an arm to pull the door shut. You step forward and stop her.


She looks.

“You’ll text and let me know when you make it?”

“I’ll make it.”

“You’ll text when you do?”

She tilts her head and looks at you sideways. Seeing something she likes, she smiles faintly. Meanwhile her finger taps out a short, thoughtful rhythm on the steering wheel. This is the tell on which you have been waiting.

“All right. Sure. I’ll text,” she agrees.

She won’t, but that is not what matters.


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