Craving escape before I suffocate, I pull my sight out of Angel, swing it upward over trees across town, from the fulcrum of this window-seat, and spear it straight down through a roof on First Avenue. I need to check that Shigem hasn’t been visited by Damian, now that I’ve just learned about the latter’s charming way with a nailed-on leather face … and you’re lying in bed, Shigem, your head on Kim’s shoulder, saying “I like not really knowing what I’m going to say before I start talking.”
“You don’t say.”
“It’s funny, we don’t have any poison in us. Some people are backed up with poison. Lucan and Angel, for instance. If ever there was a pair who deserved each other. Corrosive acid, that’s what flows between them. And yet in a twisted way they really do love each other. Their relationship went to hell in a handbag as soon as it began, of course, just like Evelyn told me it would when they first got together.”
Kim kisses your forehead and whispers, “My love.” You burrow down into his protection, hold him tight and stay there, your mouth still and open against his chest.
After a while you squirm around to face the other way, so the pair of you are curled up front-to-back. His hot strong arms come around your neck and shoulders; his legs entwine with yours, adjust and are still. And there you lie together, in an eloquent communication of absolute silence and stillness.
This is a perfect, unimprovable situation right here, you decide, as you slip immediately towards sleep, easy and free now that you’re enclosed within the sweet relaxing calm of your boyfriend’s embrace. You’re half-conscious of the voice of your own mind, prattling on for a little while longer, to nobody, as it winds down: “How alive, to see the face of your lover through the years,” it is saying. “Oh, have I got staying power, strong like a mountain. But I’d like to turn a mirror to the sky first. Maybe then we’ll see far enough to travel backwards? The sun’s on track to expand to a red giant and swallow us. —I thought about you twice just then, my love. Perhaps the second time was really first. Look at me, behind the mirror. Chase that shadow: just as fast as you follow, it’ll skip from your sight. It’s a living, for a shadow, I suppose…” and as you sink lower, slower, through Atlantic depths, your mind’s voice slows down at last. Down here in the deeps are only surges and fleeting things: seaweed fronds and eels make to grab your skinny torso from behind and wind you round them. Your body gives a twitch, as a fish-nose bumps you with a soft caress that leaves a nose-shaped dent upon your arm. Kim flashes up, swimming naked, right in front of you: kiss forever, in the darkness! comes a whisper … and you sleep.
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