Wednesday, October 16, 2013


            She stuffed her hands in her armpits. Freezing to death, she said, then pulled them out and tried to press them against his warm belly, under his shirt, but he was too fast—the belly and he were gone, in the next room, disappeared before she could get to him. He knew her.
            She didn’t pursue. Pursuit’s not my game, she yelled. Coward, she yelled. Next time, she yelled. Then he heard the buzz of the microwave heating—probably boiling—her day old coffee. Disgusting.
            She had no standards. Ate old food, put on whatever in the morning, would have gone to work in her slippers if he hadn’t stopped her.
            But I work at home, she had said.
            Yes, but you can’t really be effective unless you are properly dressed.
            Properly dressed, she said, echoing his inflection perfectly and taking his advice to heart, he hoped. He did notice she had on clogs, not his first choice, but better than slippers and more expensive. He knew that. Who do you think wrote out the checks, kept clear, readable records of all their accounts, knew the location of every penny coming in, saved, and going out? It’s what she liked, no, loved about him, she said. The orderliness.
            I can look at my calendar and my watch, she said and know where you are and what you are doing.
            In a momentary loss of control, he had said, “And you like that?”
            “Yes,” she had beamed. “You are my exotic.”
            And she was his—the exotic creature he’d never understand, so much his opposite that she left him spinning more often than he’d ever admit, but interested, oh, so interested in everything about the exotic creature who refused to take his name, but embraced everything else, his sound, his look, his taste, his touch. Oh, yes, his touch, everything, everywhere except her cold little hands on his warm belly.
            Even exotics have to be controlled.

© 2013 Kathleen Coskran

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