A Lover's Touch

I knew you were there. Pressing against my world like a face pressed against a windowpane. Me, I was sure it was a love story. Sam insisted on the prosaic: a branch tapping against the glass, or the wind buffeting the roof.
        But look what happened to Sam.

In bed, listening to the rain, my arms around Sam. But I knew you were out there. I could taste you when I ate, or slept, or made love. At night, I'd feel your touch against my spine. I'd feel your words trickle into my brain. Sam said you talked in my sleep.

In the bathroom: bright, gleaming. There's a high window, black in the night. Perfect for peeping. I'd be naked, the way I knew you'd like. I'd hold my round breasts, stroke my stomach. My soft fingers would caress my lips. And I'd go to Sam next door.

If you were there. In the darkness. If I could see you in the darkness, what would you look like? What colour would be your eyes? Would they be gazing into mine? If you were there. If you were there in the darkness, would you breath? Would I hear you breathing? As I used to hear Sam breathing?
        In the darkness. I could hear myself breathing, like the sea. I'd turn to Sam, reach between his legs, rub him hard. Put his cock inside me, my hand resting on his moving neck.
        But in the darkness, I'd wonder if he were you.

In the sitting room. Dancing to your records. The curtains swaying in time to the music.
        Jealousy is understandable. What can you want now but company? Now Sam is gone. 

Woken in my hotel room. I scrabbled for the phone in the dark. A very poor line. Echoing. Like the sea. And the sound of something like screaming.
I drove home, bouncing on the cat's eyes to keep awake.
        Bedroom bulbs burnt out. Brightening sky behind the curtains. Fragments of bone flashed white against the room's grey, pink, scarlet. I could tell -- I knew -- the influences on your mind. The wall, a monochromatic Jackson Pollock: Study I, In Red. The installationist touches: the faint sound of liquid dripping, the squelching carpet. No - on second thoughts it wasn't Jackson Pollock in your head. Abstract yes, but more industrial, more YBA. Not the nostalgia of the abattoir, more like the romance of the factory.
The meat had been stripped from the bones with 100% efficiency. The bones methodically shattered to splinters. The residue spread around the room almost like dust.
        Processed for convenience. It was easy to flush away Sam's body.

I know you are going to come tonight.
Lingering in the bath, water caressing my shoulders, my neck. A wet flannel across my face, smoothing my brow, stroking my eyes.
        If you were here now, what age would you be? If you were here now, how would we be - how would we live - together?
You had me climbing the stairs like a bride.

In bed. In the equal darkness.
I feel your kiss upon my lips. I feel your hands upon my neck. I feel your hair across my face. I feel your tongue inside my mouth. I feel your weight upon my arms. I feel the teeth that bite my cheek. I feel your fingers tear my eyes. I feel the hands that rip my breasts. I hear the crack and snap of bone. I feel you clutching at my heart. I feel you tear it from my chest.

So much for the love story. Why did you turn it into that? To make a fool of me? As a bolster for your inadequacies? So no one else could have me? As a joke? A flash of anger? Was I a way to pass the time?
Because I am nothing, do you think it doesn't matter what you do to me? Do you think we have no connection? You must know there's a fine line between nothing and something.

You turn away from the screen. You put the pages down. You squirm on your chair. Stand up, perhaps? Where are you? Study? Bedroom? Kitchen? Lounge? There's light enough to read. Is it daytime? Night? I hope it's night.
        Now, or later, you close your eyes. Return to the equal dark.
        You turn your head.
        And do not see.
        And will I be there?
        In the darkness. Will I open what is left of my eyes and envy yours? Will you notice the scent of my blood? Will you hear me breathing? In the darkness.
        And will I watch? Or will I touch?

M A Harding