Tuesday, August 4

Strangers Who Don’t Fit

I GAVE HER a length of toilet paper so that she could clean my come off her skin. The blind was only halfway up over the window so that the sun was coming in to heat everything up, to raise the temperature of the room and cause me to perspire. The come went all over her crotch and when she moved the come dripped on to me; from my position I could see every drop of it whiten in the sunlight.
Unhappily I smiled and cleaned it up. Afterwards, myself to stroke her leg, as though everything was going to plan, affectionate, him? I wished to be alone.
A nightclub down Elephant & Castle; she asked; and I said—‘Yeah, if you want.’ ‘Do you want that?’ ‘Yeah… sure.’ There was no joy when she stepped through my door. I sat down on the sofa as she removed her shoes. She kept a pink ribbon beneath her lace underwear, which I saw and turned away from. The flat was quiet but through the open window was the city shuffling, the sound of sirens, the flashing redblue lights, a case of the ex. I offered her a cup of tea; declined; a cup of tea would make her more like she, but, no, she declined. ‘Are you sure you don’t want a cup of tea?’ Languidly she draped her legs across me, soft and shaven as the pink ribbon had been. It used to be that I felt good when I met a new woman, excited, everything fresh and virgin as rainforest; not a moment to lose to find what she had under her clothes, under her undergarments, but Saturday night I was only apathetic to it. Yes, I was tired, but I had been tired before and she had coaxed a glacier from my loins. This was different; there was nothing; neither a distraction nor arousal from this person in my bed. I tried.
And then, would you believe, but that old, old feeling of disgust after orgasm. It had been so long since I had felt it that, for a moment, I almost reclined into its disgusted arms! So horrified was I at the ejaculation I had committed that I quickly stood up and rushed out of the room. Coming with L— had always been wonderful, fireworks & celebrations, but this was empty, a heaving prick without purpose, and the draught of loneliness over me was overwhelming. Getting back into bed I spooned her, but her body was completely the wrong shape. No matter how I tried I could not slot us together. Angles and manoeuvring but no use! ‘I’m sorry… I can only sleep facing this way.’ I turned from her, from the only direction I had slept for the past four months because it was the direction in which she had lain; I could not face it without her, with someone else. How I had looked forward to the company of another in my bed, and how spectacularly it had disappointed me!
She had marked my body, on my chest, a nebulous bruise. I examined it in the bathroom mirror and did not like it. It revolted me. She was stood at the window in knickers & one of my t-shirts. The buttocks were small & quite round. I removed her t-shirt of mine, my t-shirt of hers, so that the neighbours could see her breasts, which I slipped into my mouth as I came.
Everything seems better before the cry & crumble, as though it will be marvellous, but it is not. Jutting half-light from under the half-closed blind, I lit a cigarette and she brushed her teeth.
When will she leave? My foot shook at the end of my leg and I waited.
The awkward good-bye; the heavenly alone.
As soon as she left, I text L— a joke I had wished to relay. She responded—‘HAHAH’ and that was enough for me. It was strange, I thought, that that one response (five letters, capitals, faraway) brought me more pleasure than a night with someone else – I enjoyed the silence of the room – and that is why my situation is most unfortunate.

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