Why should I be bound to thee,
They weren’t brothers but people thought they were. They had been asked three times since they had come here. Once Richard had agreed when someone asked and the stranger had nodded. They had only known each other two days. Now they sat on the shore. Richard looked right into her eyes when they fucked but then as he got closer to coming he’d reach up and take a handful of her hair and pull it then twist his other arm under her, between her body and her arms so she was pinned with her breasts arched out against him. He would tell her he was coming and she would turn her head so his breath was warm in her ear. John was different. Slimmer. He was easier to laugh with. With him sex was rough but then he would find her mouth and kiss her with tenderness.
I’m sitting in the hospital lobby, waiting for them to come out and call me. It’s packed: everywhere you look, pregnant women sit by themselves, with their partner, with other children clinging to their knees and crying for attention. Some of their faces are happy, some tired and worn out by one too many sleepless nights, some are reading baby parenting books like they hold more truth than the Bible. The high pitched squeals do nothing to soothe my nerves: my eyes keep darting to the ultrasound room door. I just wish I could tell them all to shut up and be quiet, but somehow I don’t think that would go down too well with the hormone-crazed women sharing the room with me. So I just slouch a little in my plastic chair and go back to staring at the door.
Come round, she says, Johnny's got the kids. I baked. It's August. I rarely leave London but now I feel like I'm on holiday, walking to Lucinda’s. I could almost sling off my shoes. Gina. She grins at me as she opens the door. I started without you. You goofy bitch, I say. Three kids? You'd never guess. Concave waist, long perfect legs, dark pretty eyes like a bad fairy.
He gripped my hips with smooth hands, failing to control my thrusts. I changed the rhythm of the rusted springs: a frantic pulse became a slow drumbeat. I heard him catch his breath. He suppressed a deep-throated whimper and leaned over my back, sweet breath stung my sunburnt neck. I tightened every muscle and forced his groan to escape. His whole body jerked backwards – a sculpted arc glistening with oil and mingled sweat. My body shuddered and silent screams exploded from my core. We collapsed. I laughed.
By the time she arrived at the restaurant, everything was glowing. An alarming number of candles and dark red lights gave her the feeling that she might be shanghaied by the end of the night. Although in this bone-deep coldness, would being shanghaied be so bad? Maybe not. Her friends, along with some people she had never seen before, occupied the far corner of the restaurant, the sticky table in front of them covered in shot glasses and empty plates. Squeezing in beside two of them on the tiny bench, she pushed her bangs to the side and took a sip of the nearest drink. As she lowered the glass, she noticed someone staring at her—a tall, lanky man with hair cropped slightly too close to his head and sleeves pushed up above his elbows. The certainty with which he looked at her gave her pause. True, there was nothing odd about his gaze, but it was fixed on her, unflinching, unapologetic.
Héctor shunted a large cast-iron stag through the doorway. He had walked it in a series of hernia-bulging stages from his villa on the other side of the botanical garden; cutting through the garden had been a mistake – too many winding paths, too few benches – but he hadn’t wanted to be seen by his wife (she’d know about the lover) or the lover (she’d know about the surprise). The lover was Carmen, an idle, yet graceful, woman who passed her days flouncing between the two rooms – bedroom and living room – on the top floor of her house, drifting from one world of cloying pale pink anaglypta to the other.
It’s cold on the street in March at two a.m. in New England. We closed the bar down — a hoot since neither of us is the kind of woman who closes down a bar. Drunk or not, passersby stare. Even in 2013 in a college town, a black woman and a white woman laughing this intimately are unusual.