Like school days

I’m reading Faulkner when she comes in. She sits on the bed, close enough that I can feel her.

‘What’s going on?’ She sounds just like she did when we were in university. A little more sober, maybe, but otherwise pitch-perfect.

‘Trying to read. Not successfully.’

‘Go ahead and ask. I know you’re dying to ask.’

‘Where is he?’

‘I don’t know, and even if I did, I would tell you I don’t. You need to give it. Put the past behind you.’

Her hand is resting on my arm, then my ribs, and then, well, it’s also like university, that part. Excitement, lust, and a little desperation as a new ingredient. Then she leaves.

I can hear her, in her room, afterwards, watching television — the shrieks of some slasher film carry through. I get up to go to the bathroom. Her bedroom is at the end of the hallway, and the door is open.

‘Everything okay?’ She is sitting on the edge of the bed watching a scary movie with a blanket over her shoulders, just like she used to do.

‘Great,’ she whispers — trying not to wake everyone, I guess. ‘You?’

‘Yeah, great.’

I walk out of the hallway and into the bathroom. When I go back to bed, her door is shut, muffling the television’s noise.