And in the hallway, when she was running along the corridor doors, drumming her tiger paw length fingernails, never fake; she was never fake. And there where the flowers would be lined up, waiting in the damp smoke. Always the smoke. She ran her nails over the glass vases, she stroked the coloured patterns, poured her skin into folds and smoky entrails; his skin was barely harder. To be rougher was not to be less soft. He may have to shave every morning, but who shaves his heart? And in the hallway, her fingers sang of his moist lips, how they had taught him not to crush her with desire and despair.

How she had been his tears in exchange for a patience no lifetime would grant her, their silent hours of teaching skin to speak behind curtains of hair. She would shave all of her hardened shell, her skin like a reptile's. In her mind; he'd say; in her mind. In my eyes you are what the world cannot be. So he ate her like a fruit, he ate the peel and he ate the core. He ate what she could not bear to be; not what she thought she would have to be.

And in those tears, was she not the thing that folds between the layers of a man, this man; whose skin was that of a reptile, but whose heart spoke in lengths. She, only scaly within, within the moist juicy center. But his fingers would not peel her, would only have her whole. So, in the dark, where he could not see, she would peel herself, between his smoke playing on her skin and his breath braiding her hair. There they lay entwined.

In the hallway, the flowers were hushing her tiger paw length fingernails as they drummed against the hardening surface, folding into his soul, tearing him apart.

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