‘Don’t you eat?’ she meant nothing by it, but it cut. Of all the times he didn’t want to hear it, now, her wrapped round him, fingertips pulsating down his back, clothes discarded carelessly across the floor, humans glowing, sweat, saliva, now was definitely one of those times. Normally the next words to leave the offending female’s lips were, ‘I’ll have to cook for you.’ And he always clammed up. And he didn’t see that woman again. But tonight she didn’t say, ‘I’ll have to cook for you,’ in fact she made no unfounded assumptions about his future, she invited herself to no parties. Instead, as she felt the backward shift in his comfort, she said, ‘It’s just that you’re so thin!’
He didn’t need telling. He pulled himself away and sat up. She rolled towards him.
‘But I love your shoulders.’
He’d not heard that before. Ever. And he said, ‘Thanks.’ And then he paused while his brain attempted to work out if she was being funny. But she was kinder than that. He knew this much. ‘They should be good, for the amount of push-ups I’ve put in since I decided to lose my schoolboy chest.’ He didn’t know why he was telling her this. Why not?
‘Yea? That’s cool. Well, I really like them,’ she said, pacifying him. And as he slid back into her grasp, he noted how she fitted him to perfection. Tailored from the finest cloth. Made to measure. Rhythm. And as he rolled with the waves, his heart said, ‘I might not be able to stop myself with this one,’ to which his head replied, ‘Shit!’
She didn’t compliment liberally, but nor did she pass praise lazily. Most women told him he had a nice smile. ‘You’ve got a nice smile.’ But it meant nothing. Nothing. It was vapour. Absorbed and forgotten. Textbook. Asking a taxi driver if he’s had a busy night. Lethargy kicks in. She hadn’t once mentioned his smile. Or his eyes. Cliché free. Textbook burnt in a town square. A ritual. Maybe she just didn’t think he had a nice smile. And while his body made love to her body, his brain fantasised that it was making love to her brain. And it all came together. Synchronisation. Harmony. And the look in her eyes had changed. He would be rejected.