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My skin is too tight, stretching tautly over my joints, and I am conscious of all my sharp, angular edges. I am anxiously rigid. My head is ticking.

The monitor makes a power saving sigh and I shiver. Under the desk cable snakes are seething and the sun is thrumming on the curtain making my eyes ache. Sounds surround me: power supplies stridulate, processor fans whirr and hard drives whine. I am locked immobile before a tsunami of noise.

You yawn through the wall and this frees me, I walk quickly to the bedroom trying to outpace my nervous self. With the armless jerk of a sea lion on dry land you prop yourself against the pillows. Your bleary eyes see through my thin smile and you sense the tension in me. We begin the familiar ritual -- we talk over my problems, then under, and to the right, and to the left of them. You offer soothing suggestions in an even tone while I rage silently wishing you would acknowledge that the situation is past desperate, beyond remedy.

For some reason this makes me feel better and I make tiny hopeful promises to myself. We press lips and then bodies. At first it feels like I'm crushing the life out of you but you continue to squeeze me and so I suppose not, surrendering myself to the warm sensation. My skin feels looser now.