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Adam’s rib

I found her sitting motionless. Like a rock in the wind.

I didn’t look forward to seeing her again. But I went to her because I knew she was suffering. I also knew only I could alleviate it, albeit temporarily. Getting to her was like walking though a maze. But I could always smell their skin for kilometers.

She sensed my presence and acknowledged it by stirring slightly in the gloom. The motion of her body was so familiar to me it was like an orb of light suddenly surrounded her and I could see her in infinite detail in the vast darkness.

She slowly looked up at me through her dark hair. Her chin was on her knees. Her eyes looked like memories. And the scorching pain of seared flesh.

“Oh, Colin,” she said quietly. Calmly. “What have you done to us? How will we ever begin again after this?”

I couldn’t tell her that I was not here for beginnings. How could I, if I knew I was not here for endings either?

“Why do you hurt me so?” She asked, this time less calmly. There was a quiver in her voice.

“Jenny let me in,” I said. “I told her I would not be long. She is probably outside the room door waiting for me to leave,” I said, ignoring her questions. I stood firm and took in all of her – her beauty, her smell, her fragility.

“OK.”

“I came to tell you I was sorry I hurt you again. Believe me when I say I do not know why I do it. But I can’t help myself. And you are better off without me.” My hands were in my pockets. I stood there as casually as I could.

A sob escaped her then. Her small frame seemed to collapse into itself. “Colin…” she moaned, barely audibly.

“I have to go.” I said firmly. “I’m no good for you.” I said the words just as I had rehearsed them and practiced them a million times before on countless other ones like her.

“Stay with me. Please,” her voice sounded tired, despite the urgency of her words.

I tried a different approach. “You know that is not what you want. You know I will only hurt you again. And again.” I spoke words of truth, and it was almost as if the truth hurt her more than lies would’ve. I knew I would be back, eventually, but she had to heal a bit first. She needed to be strong again for me. Strong enough for me to hurt her again.

“Don’t go… I forgive you, Colin. Please stay with me. Just hold me a little bit.” Her voice was desperate. Her eyes shone, further illuminating the darkness of the room. They bore into me with a mixture of confusion, anger and pure unprecedented adoration.

“I’ll see you around, Lila. Try to forget about me, please. Get out a bit. Get some sunlight on your skin.” I said. I knew she would never be able to forget me. That she would whisper my name on her death bed. That she would dream about me every night for the rest of her life. My curse… my crazy, selfish, terrifying and beautifully amazing curse.

“Be strong.” I said. “For me.” And after those words, I knew I could release her in the moment. I looked at her again and breathed her scent in. I knew at the same time that I would be back. Maybe in three months time. And I would want her again with every cell in my body. And she would let me have her without a thought about the consequences. And she would be happy. For a few days, at least. Maybe I would give her a few weeks next time. If I could stand her for that long.

God, how I loved her then. My little pathetic crumpled mass of sorrow. Like a bird with a broken wing. I was addicted to her pain. To her love for me. To her hopelessness.

“I’m going now,” I said. She had stopped looking at me. Her shoulders shook while she whimpered like a desperate puppy looking for its mother’s life-giving milk.

And just like that I walked out of the dark room. I smiled at Jenny’s glares and even managed to give her a little friendly wave before her coffee mug missed my head and connected with the wall behind me.

“Asshole!” she screamed. I stepped out into the night, whistling. Girls like Jenny would never understand the preciousness of complete passion. She would never submit to my charms – her force-field was too great and sturdy. But still, she was one of the lucky ones. The clever ones. Like me.

About halfway down the block, I stopped to inhale a familiar scent. “Ah…. Gina.” I thought, tilting my head up to the moon. I remember her pain then. Her desperation. How long has it been? I wondered. At least a year… surely she was ready.

With a renewed vigour in my step, I turned the corner and walked happily on to where she would be waiting.

Published inShort stories

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