Youíre no one I can love, she says and he says ditto. Itís not because of him, she says and fingers her wedding band. Iím trying but itís never because of him.
No problem, he says. No strings, no names, no guilt. He runs his palm over the smooth curve of her hip.
Iíve married twice before, she says and finds a memory in the space between them that makes her smile.
Iíve known lust, he says, desire, even affection. Disgust, too, and hatred that manifests itself as sex. Theyíre enough, I guess, he says and with a fingertip traces her smile.
No strings, she says, no names, no guilt.
The hum of humanity twelve floors below is silenced by the hum of the air conditioner and by the plate glass window and by the distance in between.
When I met you in the bar downstairs, he says, I wanted you more than I do right now.
So, she says, why are we here?
Curiosity, he says, or habit. Youíre not the first.
And she says ditto.
He smells the coffee first and then her flesh, or the spot where her flesh has lain. I started your coffee, she says, and unhooks the chain on the door.
He blinks to unblur her. Iím wondering, he says, but she says no and closes the door between them.
At the window, he lights a cigarette and feels the cool plate glass against his forehead. Conditioned air stirs his loose tee-shirt, his morning hair, the tobacco smoke snaking toward the ceiling. He spots her, the red skirt, twelve floors below, tries to gauge the distance between them. Twelve floors, a hundred and twenty feet, perhaps, or a hundred and twenty miles. Itís a ways, thatís all, and itís the same, and itís always the same. He follows the skirt into the shadows of the parking garage, and he sees, or imagines he sees, the soft sway of her hips. He feels their warmth beneath his hands. He smells the brewed coffee, turns from the window, wonders whether the aroma entices or sickens him.
No strings, he thinks. No names. No guilt.
Copyright © 1999-2005 by Amarillo Bay. All rights reserved.