The florescent light above me buzzes with maliced intentions. I view my reflection in the dark glass, pale and agitated.
The train moves me forward, chest muscles tighten and fingers drum with controlled hysteria.
Knuckles rap the door: once, twice. Footsteps shuffle and blots withdraw.
Come inside. I’ve been waiting.
I touch a button on the only clean shirt I could find and for no good reason tell you that I like to eat the pith from an orange skin. You smile and show me lips, crooked bottom teeth touching tongue. My hand brushes yours.
You’re telling me a story about the time you saw a flattened toad on the sidewalk and can’t seem to forget it. I remember a crow I once saw on a road, black with one wing askew, a smudge of blood on the tarmac.
I don’t tell you this.
You hand me a glass of red wine and I open my mouth to tell you I’d rather not, but choose again to say nothing. This is not the time.
My mother made me promise I’d always protect myself. My father promised nothing.
You love this music and tap it's rhythm on your knee, narcotic beats in movement. We drink more wine.
The orange glow of too many candles illuminate the room. You light a cigarette and inhale deeply, closing your eyes. I swallow the fumes in my non-smokers lungs and breathe you in.
Later, the cigarette, lip-stick stained, rests expended in the ashtray.
The music stops too soon, leaving in its absence an oppressive silence. I feel your hand in mine and taste smoke colored saliva.
I’ve known where this was headed.