Our bodies bare and marginally separated, a reaction to the heat. Her spine exposed, legs slightly bent, a small stream of dribble running from her mouth. Save the dribble and the disciplined thud of her breath against the cold air, she could have been mistaken for a mannequin. One of the mannequins you see, undressed in windows, that you can actually imagine fucking.
On these mornings, once her body was stroked to life, there was little we could do. A half-open look into each other’s bloodshot eyes and the motions began. Deep, dry kisses on necks, mouths, backs, other places. On these mornings we didn’t bother brushing our teeth. Self-consciousness had disappeared months ago. It had disappeared from smells, noises, bodily functions, inebriated actions. On these mornings there was the shared, assumed knowledge that I would soon propose. The idea hung over our bed on these mornings like marijuana smoke over a Dutch canal. Intoxicating everyone beneath it, talking to the foreigners in a language they couldn’t begin to understand.
I got up off the toilet. I had to stop thinking about things like this. Sarah-related things.
“That took a while.”
“You know me, Sam. Sometimes I get stuck.”
“Thinking Sarah things, I bet.”
“Thinking Sarah things.”
“None of your business.”
“Why she left?”
“She left because of you.” I said sternly. Looking him in the eyes.
“She left because of us. Not me and her. I mean us - as in you and me, J.”
“Let’s not talk about it.”
“She’s not sick, J.”
“So why did you let me sit on the toilet, crying and thinking about her for an hour, thinking she was sick?”
“She’s not sick. Sarah’s not sick - she’s dead.”
“Go fuck yourself, Sam.”
“As soon as I’m out of here, I will.”
I left without so much as a goodbye. On the way out of the hospital I stopped at the canteen and bought a potato cake. The brown paper saturated quickly. I focused on it. I focused on paper soaking. I remembered a time when I read a note. The last note Sarah left me. The paper had soaked just as quickly.
Before I exited through the last of the electric doors – the ones that could sense I wanted to pass through them – I spent $35 on flowers. Typical gift-shop flowers, more wilted and less glamorous than their fresh-florist counterparts. I let water drip from the stems onto my arms and walked to the car. I knew where I could find her.