I lie my head on his chest. This is not love. I am listening. He’s brought back the sound of the sea on his sweater. It mingles with the tinny voices from the old movie we’re watching. The voices that make me want to say words like ‘jaunty’ and ‘top drawer.’ He laughs at me trying on these words. They don’t suit me.

He likes plain talking. That’s probably why he’s here. We are functional, our conversations comprising takeaways and fishing routes and hand jobs.

Any more authentic, and I’d risk being phoney.

He’ll go soon.

He hates the limits of the pavement, the roofs perched on top of lives, the shitfest of traffic.

That suits me. I’ve collected him. Not in nail clippings or soiled sheets. This is not a romance.

Instead, I keep every morsel he shares. I can’t retain it all in my head; so, when he’s asleep, I pour it all onto thin, pink lines. Every point he’s made, every place he’s been, every crude suggestion he’s spoken.

For when we’re done, and we’ve untangled whatever it was of ourselves we gave to the other, I will have what I was looking for: my uncluttered, cross-indexed, colour-coded, alphabetised Rolodex version of him.

 

Marie McKay lives in Scotland. She has stories published in various places online including, 100 word story, Literary Orphans, Easy Street Mag and Occulum.

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