This in the night.
Girl, warm. Freshly washed, smelling of sweet chemicals that humans seemed to like. Him, pungent, the stale scotch sweat leaking from his armpits. His pyjamas unwashed for far too long, the yellow stain of his sweat on the back of them. Him with his arm draped around her shoulder. Him with his face pressed against her collar. This moment with him. This shuffling back against him. This contact, the hardness of him. He shifted his hips once, twice. She held her breath. This love. This huge love. And his sob against her neck.
It grew warmer. She shed her winter coat. He shed his clothes and moved about the house naked. Staring at his reflection in the dark windows or the silent television screen as if he had discovered a stranger in his own home. Mild surprise, concern, curiosity. They lay together in his bed and sometimes it was an easy comfort. Other times he grew agitated, pushed at her, ordered her to the foot of the bed, regretted his tone and fell on her with apologies. Girl breathed through it. She turned her rump towards him. Love, she thought, biggest love.
There was nothing to it when it came down to it. It was quick. It was nothing really. Just a physical representation of the big love. After it was done, he clung to the nape of her neck with his fists, shaking. That was the nicest part. She was reminded of her mother, a vague memory of being carried, the loose skin at her neck held tight, a comfort.
He put a mattress at the foot of the bed. She understood. He needed space from it, from her. She sat up on her haunches and rested her chin on the end of the bed and watched him twitch and clasp his knees to his chest. Sometimes at night he cried out in his sleep and then she would leap up onto the bed and lie with him. It was summer, hot, but he had taken to wearing cotton pyjamas that stuck to his skin, damp in patches.
"There," he said, tired, barely awake, but raising his hand to stroke her chest regardless. "Good Girl, good Girl."
And Girl closed her eyes and abandoned herself to love. The biggest love that almost tore the skin off her with its ferocity.