by Nightwing

Part three


I lie in the bed next to you listening to the accelerated rate of my heart beat and the raspy awareness of your breath. It is amazing how even in the tight enclosures of a bed that continents can span between us.

There are many questions between us.

You lie on your back, pleasantly sated, all wariness drawn from your pale skin, and stare at the ceiling in the weak light from the desk lamp.

If I was an artist this is how I would paint you, recumbent after sex, sated and comfortably pleased, but distant as thoughts flit through your head. In the weak lamp light the ridges of your ribs are limned, like you have been dipped in gold.

You never object to me staring at you.

I often do, after, I drink you in and do my best to memorise every detail when you sleep, and for some reason you feel safe enough in my presence to sleep. I never do, terrified that I'll wake up and find that you're gone. I lie on my side and watch you breathe.

Aya-chan came to see me today.

I am lying on my side facing you watching as your breath settles and the flush pales from your cheeks. Your hands are still reflexively clenching the sheet and your eyes are glassy. I love you best at this moment as pleasure wars with disdain on your delicate features before sleep pulls you under.

She slapped me, did I tell you that?

I have left a mark on your neck. I can see the ridges of my teeth where I bit you. I'm sorry for it, I didn't mean to hurt you.

She called me a fool.

I am testing conversations with you. It has been two years and we have never managed to have a conversation. I have imagined many with you, from comfortable breakfasts to drunken evenings and even jealous fights. We have never spoken at length.

She said you loved me.

Your nails have left weals down my back and there is a heaviness in my limbs that is not unlike sleep. I can see you slipping away from me, away from the conversation we'll never have. Sleep is pulling you down and I am torn.

You look so peaceful when you sleep.

"Ran," I say your name.

You struggle and fight sleep, throwing yourself unto your side and appraise me with violent eyes. You say nothing.

She said I was tearing you apart.

I reach behind me and turn off the desk lamp. Beyond the vast landscape of this small bed Tokyo labours. It is born and it dies. There is a song in my head. I don't know the words. It is irrelevant.

There are no words between us.

There never were.

She said I either had to claim or leave you.

It is easier in the darkness.

In the darkness I can close my eyes and pretend that I can't see the cool disdain in your eyes.

I reach forward, and clumsily, I kiss you.

It is awkward at first, two unfamiliar faces trying to find the best way to fit together, but soon I don't care. I twine my fingers through yours and kiss you.

To my complete surprise you kiss me back.