I wake up and reach for my phone - it’s four in the morning. She is sleeping, the warm skin of her back brushes against my arm with each rising of her chest. In the half-light, a sultry wind rustles the poplars outside, dappling her with a shadow play of shapes.

I am restless. Propped up on my elbow, I hold my phone inches above her skin and run it along the natural curvature of her body, dipping and climbing with each undulation. In the cold glow of the display, her waist is a moonlit sand dune.

I turn away and place my feet on the cool floor tiles, her curled G-string catching in my toes. I walk out onto the balcony and hear music coming from a faraway place. The night air is laden with a crushing finality.

I grip the railing and want to scream.

She said she was unlovable, difficult to be with, easily bored, bad-tempered and prone to lashing out at whoever cared for her most that happened to be around whenever her inner world misaligned with reality. She said we didn’t want the same things and if we spent more time together, we would soon come to detest each other. At least, she'd feel that way.

She knew herself.

We’d had a good thing, she said. It didn’t have to amount to anything. We’d filled a need, we’d served a purpose for each other while dodging the ugly tangle of commitment. And she liked everything we’d done. She’d had a great time. And now, she was leaving.

I said I was fine with it, gave her a smile and shrugged it off. I wasn’t going to be a such a killjoy.

We had a few drinks and we went dancing. She wore a tight black dress, large gold bracelets and had her hair done in a loose braid on one side, the way I liked it. On the floor, I spun her around and around, catching and releasing her svelte figure in a delirium, as if granted some uncanny deftness for this one last night. She sensed this. I caught sight of her face – it was beaming. “Don’t let go of me,” she cried and laughed her husky laugh.

I didn’t want to.

Now I look over my shoulder to the bedroom – her silhouette is a tender wave caught mid-swell, crests and troughs suspended in the stillness of time, less and less time. Determination, born of reflection and dread, seizes me. I must not let her go without the words I have for her. Only for her.

I join her in bed and place my hand on her shoulder. She stirs, inhaling deeply. I want to tell her things that will make her stay and feel the weight of the affection I have carried. I wonder if I am selfish to lay this at her feet now.

“What time is it?” she whispers. I say it’s still early. I kiss her neck and she draws me nearer. She turns to kiss me and I taste the syrupy sweetness of last night’s cocktails that still lingers on her lips. She kisses with a fullness and intensity that blurs my thoughts.

“I need to tell you something,” I start. The kissing has got me going. She senses this and arches her back. I embrace her as she slides her thighs apart and my heart races – a rampant creature caged inside my chest. I feel her heat there and clutch her breast. She lets out a fathomless sigh, ringing with desire. “Fuck me,” she demands.


A gust of wind startles a flock of jackdaws out of a bough. Their frenzied cawing draws out the sun and, as the day breaks, I go inside her, losing all resolve, all sense of direction, all of myself. 

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