He continues to smoke, a slender hand deftly equipped with a cigarette that glows in the dim light, a beacon that refuses to be extinguished in the dusk. Dirty lilac duvets hastily pushed to a corner of the creaky bed. A crooked overhead lamp protests feebly against the dark, which swallows the both of us in an unprecedented silence. I sit on his lap, picking at a stubborn hangnail that refuses to peel off.
My bare skin prickles under the frigid current of the beastly air-conditioner, which rattles like an old-age pensioner on his last legs.
“I was just walking through the market today.”
He brought the cigarette to his lips.
“So what’d you get, Laura?”
I held up a Polaroid photo. “This.”
“What’s that, Laura?”
I shrugged my shoulders. “It’s nothing, really. Could you turn up the air-conditioner? And get my bra for me, at the very least?”
His lips pursed on a smoky drag, he glances at me. Then a car door slams, shattering the stillness, and the tell-tale rumbling chug of an ancient car echoes down the street. His face becomes nothing more than a canvas for the faintest gleam of light that first sneaks up over the drawn blinds, slowly growing brighter as it hovers over the dingy walls like a stray spotlight, finally making its triumphant ascent to the ceiling. A stray fleck of light flickers in the sticky malevolence of his eyes, where it struggles, a careless firefly drowning in a mud bog and then dies, its curious body subsumed by the inkiness. Then his gaze swiftly bonds with the childlike luminescence, still shrouded and I feel his gaze climbing over my skin, sliding off my shoulders, caressing my arms and tickling the dark mire of confusion nestling carefully between my thighs, where the light pools for a split moment, before reaching out with its spidery fingers for his face. My skin tingles, but he’s barely touched me.
Then he blinks and I watch the dark lashes part and lower in that flicker, his eyes now looking past me, staring intently at his bellybutton. His hair, slicked back, with a stray curl of ebony that now caresses his wide forehead, cradling the entire angularity of his jaw line and head. The light now slows to a creeping saunter along his face, carving in sloping cheekbones with the dexterity of a master woodcutter. And yet, still – he continues to smoke, the stream of white hanging in the air, oblivious to everything – my double-blinded love, my insatiable lust, my explosive anger.
I now watch the lithe body unfold itself, ancient veins now surging against the crashing tide of his skin that stretches waxen over his entire frame. Lines of blue and green interweave over his skin. I always complain that he’s barely skin and bone; he’s always consuming strange pills, drinking one too many shots – but there is something in the way he walks that makes me involuntarily shiver. I observe his arm that slowly extends, like the latticed boom of a crane, to pick the moth-eaten garment from the far side of the bed. But his fingers freeze in mid-air, and a grin stretches itself, Cheshire Cat-like, on his face.
“No can do, Laura, I wanna see you hanging out like that.” The other hand reaches out towards me, cupping my right breast, teasing the already puckering nipple. I wrest away from his meddlesome fingers. Then, out of nowhere, another finger miraculously finds itself between my legs, sliding itself neatly into a well of pooling moisture that I apparently fail to notice. And I feel it going higher, and higher, and –
Click, click, click.
It lands on something cold and metallic, and then, as if unsure of the reality of the object in question, taps on it. Then I see his expression change – his head involuntarily tilting in confusion, quickly sliding into an expression of bewilderment at something that has deftly glided past his all-knowing comprehension. The ground is sliding at his feet. I try my best not to smile at this tiny victory afforded to me.
But his puzzlement gives way to a boyish smile that lights up his entire face, the sparks in the bonfire blazing brightly in the gloom. I clench my teeth, not wanting to give myself away. He whistles under a breath that has grown strangely ragged and savage. I can feel his quivering member under my thigh, ready to pounce like some caged animal that has had its freedom restored.
“I don’t believe it, Laura. You really got yourself pierced down there? Fucking hell, Laura! I dared you for the hell for it and you actually did it. Fucking hell!” He starts to laugh, a deep belly laugh that scrabbles from the bowels of his stomach, made worse by a sudden hacking cough that leaves a tiny spot of spittle on my cheek. I glare at him, but he takes no notice.
Outside the windows, the sky emits an ominous rumble as he grunts, roughly pushing me back onto the bed, and I fall back into the pungent embrace of unwashed bedsheets. A sudden fear seizes me as my back seems to plummet towards some yawning hole, but my scabby elbows kiss the soft covers of the duvet and I wince as the pain detonates, jolting towards my hands and fingers. Then the room lights up, a beautiful, terrible cacophony of beating rain, sheet lightning and thunder, and I catch a glimpse of the dilated points of desire that mark the unsheathed cobalt surface of his beautifully lashed eyes. He sits up once more, his greedy hands smoothing out my skin, kneading it accordingly to his whims, making their way towards familiar territory. My back arches, a delicious ecstacy that maddens and tears me, as I catch a glimpse of his raven head bobbing between my thighs.
“Be quiet, Laura…” The faintly mocking illogicality echoes in my ears; running down dark tunnels strewn with half-worn shoes, urine-soaked alleys illuminated by moonlight, filthy staircases…and I am reminded of the dead dragonfly from last Wednesday. In a flash, I recall the dream from last night, but it is far too late. The polaroid flutters to the floor.
The hinges always seem to come off at some point, no matter how hard I try to fix that gate.
(Psst…read Part 2 over here!)
© Zelda Reville