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by Elliott Silver (firstname.lastname@example.org)
"Taps at Reveille …"
F. Scott Fitzgerald
Daylight always found her.
The skylight drenched them both in shades of grey, fading from charcoal to steel to silver.
But never quite black or white.
The still-night scent of the room, the hint of sweat and skin and sex.
His arms still surrounding her, his body blended into hers so seamlessly.
His breathing, smooth and even and unvaried, every one of his slow long breaths for two of hers.
He slept unlike anyone she had ever known.
As if forcing himself to shut his eyes, to blot out the world.
In a way, she understood.
Just as he understood every time she came to him.
Never asked where she had been, or even why she had come.
Never asked how she found him or why she left.
He just knew.
The skylight glittered with the first birthed ray of sun, splicing into the grey nothingness.
She breathed, short and shallow, broke the synchrony of their bodies.
Extricated herself, disentangling arms and legs.
He twisted slightly in dream, his eyes closed and smooth.
But he never woke. In all the times, he never woke.
She stood, the warmed air still on her skin like his kisses.
Surveilled him, his portrait in sleep. The way the creases smoothed around the edges of his eyes, the way his lips, still swollen, turned up at the corners of his mouth, the way his lashes raked gravel shadows across the chiseled planes of his cheek. The way his hair, dark and thick, fell in disarray, the way his body, his beautiful loving body, stretched out under the grey sheets.
The way he loved her.
The only way she could let him love her.
She turned, careful to miss the polished blonde floorboard at end of the bed that always groaned with weight. Followed the trail of their clothes like Hansel and Gretel to the door.
Her black panties at the foot of the bed, matching bra on the topmost stair.
Tripping over each other, falling into each other.
Making haste slowly.
Grafting to each other.
So completely they could not tell where one began and the other left off.
As if for a moment, to never to let go.
Grey silk shirt, flung carelessly over the banister of his architect apartment’s study in levels and space.
And descending from heaven.
Dressed with a vaguely unpleasant, but not unpleasant stiffness.
His hands, coasting over her skin. His fingers on the small of her back, where she liked it the most. On the curve of her waist. The undersides of her breasts. The sides of her face, holding her as he kissed her, countless times, again, swearing he would not let her fall.
Black skirt, over the back of the couch. Black jacket on the mat before the door.
His mouth, deep on hers. Learning the dips and corners with tiny light kisses, as if he didn’t already have her committed to memory ten times over. Trying to make this last as long as he could. Then finally opening his mouth to hers and their tongues, delirious. Like flashfloods.
Black heels, one under the jacket, one on the kitchen tile.
The first touch, his body moving towards her, enveloping her, reaching out to her.
Drawn to her like she was drawn to him.
The sky, still more dark than light.
And pulling her relentlessly, away.
A pause before leaving.
Then the sharp lock of the door behind her.
Upstairs, he waited for her again.
Things that used to matter seem so small
When you’re looking for a soft place to fall