Although she liked him, it felt wrong to have his arm wrapped around her.
It was secure, inviting, protective, but nonetheless there was something sinister there which she did not want to comprehend. There was an obligation as she accepted that arm, an obligation to pay up and give, in return for these small acts of kindness. This unnerved her, and so she would sit up, running her hands through her hair so it covered her face, and wander off briefly to get some air.
The heat of the room was stifling when she returned, after some deep breaths and collected thoughts. The dragon on the mantelpiece was perfectly content, whilst she sweltered under her harlequin blanket.
But she would not remove it, for this was her protection, her bubble. It prevented contact from becoming too human, too real. She was afraid what she would do without it. Once skin impacted against skin, she would feel dirty and immoral, and would simply want to leave.
The carefree whistling of the roommate outside would put her at relative ease, only half her attention on the television placed before them. Her body was buzzing with electric disquietude and simply wouldn’t stay still. She would try to channel it into her left foot, hanging absentmindedly off the crimson bed sheets, but then her leg would ache at the sheer effort of it all, and ceased its compliance.
As she hugged him goodbye, her stomach tumbled and twisted. In this moment she wanted a multitude of events to occur, but in something new beginning, something old must die, and she knew the cycle would return anew another day.
So instead, she coolly bid him farewell and returned home. It took mere seconds before music reverberated from his bedroom, and she could silently let the singing lull her to sleep, determined to stay in this uncertain state for as long as humanly possible.
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Copyright © 2017 Rebecca Sherratt