BY KIRA DORWARD
Copyright is held by the author.
IT WAS 8:43 on one of those listless Canadian March days that make one think that winter never ends, the snow never melts, and that nothing interesting ever happens.
The weak winter light filtered through the blinds of the room and stirred Alexandra from her restlessness. She was cold, covered only by her bathrobe because the boy sleeping next to her was wrapped up in her sheets. He had pulled her into him, his arm wrapped over her, leaving her trapped between him and the wall. She relaxed for a few minutes, enjoying the feel of a human body in this most intimate of positions. In this way, she forgot just whom it was lying next to her; it was just a place she was looking for.
Their night was littered all over the linoleum floor. Clothing crumpled and laying where it fell. She had shucked hers like a snake shucked its skin, moving on from something else.
She remembered the night before like a dream. It seemed to have all taken place in a warmer light. She had been sitting in front of him, drinking her rum and coke and not looking in his direction. On the way to the party he had picked her up when she’d fallen in the snow. At the party, and this is where things started to become hazy, all she remembered was somehow meeting his mouth and his whiskey kiss.
“Maybe you guys should go somewhere else,” said a friend of hers. “This isn’t even our party.”
They hadn’t realized they’d been the focal point of the room.
She’d forgotten her gloves as they hastily put on their coats and boots. That had been a difficult process, as groping was not conducive to the assembly of winter wear. But her hands weren’t cold on the way home. He’d held her hand and pressed it. She looked out of the window of the taxi and watched the people they passed on the way.
“I had my eye on you,” he said, as he came up behind her, their naked bodies touching for the first time. He couldn’t see it as he kissed her neck, pressing his palms into her shoulders, but she smiled. She smiled because she’d known it all along. She had known he was coming home with her before they had even left. She knew she could have him if she wanted.
The most intimate parts were the ones she couldn’t remember. What she did with her body didn’t seem all that important. It was just the body of another that held some meaning; knowing someone else in the carnal, the most simple, of ways.
He wasn’t very good, that much she knew. But she appreciated how he curved her into him, her toes curling over his at the end of the twin bed. She liked how his body warmed hers, the dormitory room under heated, as the winter day brought in light so pale and bitter.
She stretched and the boy grazed his hands along her tensed stomach. They didn’t talk. She barely even knew his name, yet he had known the most intimate parts of her. There was nothing more to say.
She sat up and looked at him, this boy she barely knew, and traced the outline of his ear. He turned towards her and avoided her eyes, head on the pillow.
“I’m sorry,” he said. “Looks like you brought the wrong guy home.” His thin lips closed around this admission. Lips that couldn’t kiss her the way she wanted to be kissed. Lips that pressed themselves against hers, wanting to satisfy. Their mouths didn’t work in sync.
Sighing, she rolled him over and straddled him, pulling him up so that her chin grazed his forehead where she gently kissed him. He wrapped his arms around her torso and pressed his face into her breasts.
“Do you know what it is to be tired all the time?” he asked, imploring her to accept his explanation. He sighed into her chest, and she clutched the hair on the back of his head. “We’ll just have to do this again when I’m sober.”
He squeezed her a little harder, bending her backwards towards the bed. “There will be a next time, right?” Alexandra smiled a sad smile. She wished that this boy was someone he wasn’t. No one in particular, just maybe the better parts of the men she’d known. He felt so vulnerable to her, like she could crush his feelings with her whisper. In response, a response that promised nothing but left lingering possibilities, she kissed him softly on the neck and worked her way up to his ear, the way she knew he liked. His seemed to accept this as an answer.
She watched him go. As he dressed, he occasionally glanced back at her, obviously unsure of what came next. She took in his skinny body, still a boy’s physique, feeling a slight disgust at how it contrasted with her curves. He buckled his watch, which he’d left on her night table. She recalled him taking it off the night before, methodically removing it even in the throws of passion. Somehow this endeared him to her. It was a simple, manly gesture.
He took one final look at her. He seemed to be asking her what to do. Then he mussed her hair as she lay, still, on the bed. There was an awkward silence.
“See ya,” was all he could come up with. But the truth was she didn’t know how these sorts of things were done either.
She wasn’t sad when he left. She was just alone again.
The day was growing on. There was more sun, but it wasn’t any warmer. Her friends were waking up now, wanting her to tell them how it went with the guy. They laughed when she said he couldn’t get it up. She was as embarrassed now as he had been.
Later, cleaning her room, she found a scattering of little red Tylenols on her carpet. When she talked to him next, he said he’d been so drunk he had confused them for candy hearts.