By Daniel Brown
Two people lie together alone on a queen-size bed, its top sheet twisted and discarded near their feet. They are cast in shades of grey by the ambient glow of a suburban street outside. Their bodies are a detailed silhouette to the eye adjusted to darkness, while the far corner of the room shows only vague outlines of a door half-opened and never closed. There is silence but from the bodies and breath of the two people. One breathes more heavily than the other. The rotating slashes of a ceiling fan swing lazily through the air above them. A coolness brushes their faces in the dark, sign of a gentle breeze wafted in from outside and accelerated by the turbulence in the room.
My senses are focused entirely in my hand. I am not blind, but there is little to see. I am not deaf, but I hear only breathing and a faint rustling. My mind is filled with the shifting feelings of pressure and warmth from the tips of my fingers to the palm of my hand. A part of me can still question just what we are doing and what will come next. For a moment, my thoughts shift in that direction and I slip in my precise movements. I return to my hand, focusing there until I’ve seen this through.
The silhouette splits. One figure falls flat, and a slight tremor runs through it with an accompanying exhalation. Above, the other figure holds its breath, afraid to break the tension. The lights of a vehicle pass by the window. As the sound of its wheels fade from the room, the figure slumps down beside its partner. They roll away, curling into a denser shadow in the darkness.
‘Are you alright?’
‘Are you going to speak to me?’
‘I don’t know what there is to say.’
The words come slowly, as if each one is its own battle.
‘You think I do?’
I reach out to unfurl the figure beside me. But it does not budge.
‘Shouldn’t we talk about this?’
‘I think it’s pretty clear.’
‘You want me to say it?’
‘That we can do that. And, it works.’
I lie on my back alone, looking up at the ceiling as they begin to cry.