The manuscript re-emerges like an old school report card, the year I was ill, the year I didn't care, the year I smoked cigarettes and didn't study. Imaginary times because I always put an effort in. Still, the words feel like failure. A manuscript that has been rejected. One that is abandoned. I do not want it to die. Here, I rescue a fragment and send it out into the world. More to follow.
Because she is asleep lying face down on his father’s bed, Simon is free to look at her. There is a sheet. It might once have been pulled discreetly over her flesh but now it serves only to underline her nakedness, drawn loosely around her knees, a slack lasso of white cotton. If someone were to pull on the end of the sheet it would snap her thighs together, hobbling her, but as it is, she is slightly exposed to his gaze. He is gazing. It is wrong for him to be standing here, feasting on the image of this strange naked woman, but this is the first strange naked woman that he has ever encountered and he is instantly, painfully aroused.
He holds his breath because any sound might wake her. He has a limited time to stand here in the doorway. She will wake up. If he moves she will wake up. If he exhales she will open her yes. He makes the most of stolen seconds. He looks at the twin globes of flesh that are her buttocks, the plummet of her waist, the fat curve of a breast squashed out from under her body by her weight. Her nipple is hidden, but the swell of flesh is enough to make his palms clammy. The breast alone would halt him, feeding on the image till his jaw ached and his eyes watered, but then there is the gentle parting of her thighs and all that lies between them.
The image of her nakedness fills up his head.
In this moment Simon would not be able to say if her hair is red or blonde or black, but he would know that her thighs are thick fleshed and that there is a little swollen mouth between them, hidden. He did not expect this. All of the magazines he has seen show a small incision, a cleft. The skin of the airbrushed beauties is neat and bald and dry. He has never seen anything like this fleshy pout. He would never have expected the sweat or juice or whatever it is that glints in the dim light, to be so visceral, so wet. He never anticipated the profusion of dark hair licking the inside of a woman’s thighs.
Simon stands and he stares until it is an image that he will be able to draw from memory, until his hands shake and his knees threaten to topple him. He is light-headed with looking, terrified that a minute more would propel him into the room. He has a terrible foreboding. He imagines the animal side of himself, the side that masturbates till he is red and sore, the side that secretly looks up the skirts of girls on the bus, he imagines this animal Simon ripping free of his skin like the Incredible Hulk, tearing out of his clothing. He imagines the Hulking animal Simon, climbing up onto the bed and throwing itself onto the naked flesh, unrestrained and unrestrainable.
He can no longer hold his breath, red-faced, trembling, Simon exhales.
The naked woman rolls over.
Breasts. Simon sees breasts.
The naked woman opens her eyes.