Her arms are crossed tight over her chest. Her eyes flash. He takes a step back. His eyes dart from side to side. Her lip is curled back so her teeth are bared. I take a step back too even though I know she can’t see me.
The wind takes up her hair before whipping it back into her face. She brushes it away with her knuckles. He tries to speak but his mouth remains a perfect O as she raises her hand and smacks him across the face. He watches the ground. He doesn’t turn the other cheek. A single tear spills. I want to hold him, to tell him I love him, that everything will be okay, that it couldn’t be helped, that we never intended to hurt her. But I shouldn’t be here so I watch on in silence.
Her hands fly up to her mouth and she begins to shake and sob. He moves towards her. She utters one word, which freezes him in place. Finally, she allows him to speak. He talks and talks, streams of words I wish I could hear. She sinks down on the step and lowers her face to her hands. He looks around before gently sitting beside her. She doesn’t look up. Is she crying? I can’t tell.
He edges slightly closer. Soon, his thigh is pressing against hers and he puts his arm around her. Her head falls onto his chest. Her whole body shakes. Her face is wet and red and all scrunched up. I feel upset for her, at what we’ve done, at the line we’ve dared to cross. But it will all work out for the best. You can’t help who you fall in love with.
My eyes are drawn to his fingers as he moves them towards her face. He tilts up her chin with his big hand. He says something. She won’t look at him. He says something else. There is an urgency in the set of his face, in his eyes, his eyebrows, his mouth. She looks up slowly, then his face is on hers. Their mouths clash and push open. Their hands are in each other’s hair, on each other’s faces, in each other’s clothes.
It ends as suddenly as it’s begun. She pushes him, gets up and runs. This time, it is he who puts his face in his hands. I don’t move towards him. I cannot embrace him now. I walk away.
Sometime later – it could be an hour or a quarter of a day – he lets himself into my apartment. I hear him trudging up the hallway. My breath locks. He enters the living room, eyes downcast. “How did it go,” I can’t help asking. “It was hard but it’ll be okay. She’ll get over it.”
I stare into his face. I look at his lips – the ones that have kissed hers and mine and hers again. His left cheek is redder than his right. I stare and stare. I have nothing more to say to him.