So there she lay

So there she lay, her porcelain skin pale against the dark linen. Her eyes were closed, as if to seal off her thoughts from his gaze, blond lashes like curtains over the windows of her soul. He leaned at the door, sweetening his steaming coffee with her image. There had only been enough for one cup, but he knew she wouldn’t mind, he knew she wouldn’t have wanted coffee anyway, even if he had asked, even if she’d been awake.

He had to smile. Wasn’t it strange how intimately he seemed to know her, already, after the first night they had ever spent together? But it had always been like that. There were people with whom he connected instantly, before they said a word, just by exchanging a look. She had been one of them. He felt he’d known her for years when he hadn’t even asked her name.

And now, after this night, he felt there was nothing about her he didn’t know – at least, nothing that mattered.

I know you inside out, he thought, and his smile widened.

She didn’t move. Her slender body formed a curve on the bed, and her stillness was unearthly, as was the pallor of her skin. Even her short hair was so light as to look almost white. Only her right arm, tucked beneath her body in an awkward angle, showed some colour, its whiteness stained with the rusty brown of dried blood. The darker hue made it fade into the bedding, making the rest of her body look even more like a question mark.

What are you trying to ask me?, he thought. What question is there that has not been answered already? He frowned. Or are you asking why? But he couldn’t believe, didn’t want to believe, that she would spoil this enchanted morning with so stupid a question. Maybe it wasn’t a question at all, but a silent wonder at the miracle of love and life and death.

Yes, that he could accept. The smile returned to his face, and he sipped at his coffee, vaguely noticing that it had already cooled. He sighed. As always, he wished he could prolong this moment, wished he could stall time and make this morning eternal, but he knew he couldn’t. He could only breath in its peace, the way he had breathed in the night’s passion, and preserve it in his memory, together with all those other nights and mornings with all those other girls, and when he was certain that the images would stay in his mind like photographs in an album, he would have to finish his coffee and go on with his day; get rid of the body and clean the bed and erase all traces and then move on.

But not yet, not now. Now he was still drinking the morning silence, looking at her bright lifeless body, breathing in the last of her scent, enjoying the last moments of togetherness before he would have to leave all that behind and continue, all alone among strangers, until he would find another one with whom he’d connect instantly, before she said a word, just by exchanging a look, one with whom to pass a night of passion and a morning of peace.

(544 words)




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