Intact

I walk into his bathroom and slide the door shut, trying to do it slowly so it doesn’t creak as much. I look in the mirror just above his sink.

My hair is scraggly and I have dark sweepers under my eyes. I’ve never really understood the term ‘dark circles’, because mine never look like circles or anything, more like a swatch. Dark swatches.

I turn on the tap and grab a cupful. Splashing it on my face, I reach for the hand towel. I don’t find one so I have to squint one eye as the water drips down. The toilet paper stares at me, but I decide it will be a drip-dry situation.

I sit down on the toilet. The water drips from my face onto my thighs. I already had goosebumps.

The goosebumps are met by a strip of hairs that stand up on end. I must have missed that spot while shaving. I stopped shaving my pubic hair because I started getting laser hair removal. So I’m only shaving it between appointments. I had to cancel my appointment a couple of months ago. It’s grown out a bit now. I don’t mind it as much as I thought I would.

Neither does he.

I don’t know why I decided to get it in the first place—not that I regret it. It’s more convenient for the beach, for exercising, for sex, I guess. But there’s that awful feeling that I’m succumbing to the ‘desires’ of men and copying the trends in porn or infantilising women or whatever. That’s how mum talks about Brazilian waxing anyway.

I wanted to look as together as possible so that if Jack saw a picture of me in bikinis or something, he’d miss me. Not that he’d notice a Brazilian in a bikini photo. I wanted him to stare at whatever photo it was and to obsess over it and to wonder what I was doing.

Cliché? Sure. Pathetic? Yes. Reality? Abso-fucking-lutely.

A permanent Brazilian is the cure, I supposed.

Will isn’t like him. Then again, it’s too soon to know how this will end. Or if it will end at all. The idea of travelling and getting married and having babies and growing old and all of that was kind of used up with Jack.

It wasn’t his fault. It wasn’t my fault. It wasn’t anyone’s fault. Maybe his mother’s.

It wasn’t all of her fault either.

My face is nearly dry. I stand up and a bit of wee is near the bridge of my thigh. I tear off some toilet paper and wipe it.

I look in the mirror again. The scraggly hair is there and the dark swatches are there, but there’s a flush in my cheeks that wasn’t there before. I look prettier with a bit of colour, I think.

I slide the door back open and the brisk warmth of the toilet disappears.

Over a creaking floorboard, I tiptoe back to his room. He’s lying in bed staring at the door. His underwear is on the floor still.

I pull the biggest and brightest smile I can and hop back into bed. I’m on my side and put my left leg over his legs. He lifts his hand and starts playing with my nipple. The cold favours them, I think. Perky.

“Was that okay for you?”

“Yeah, of course,” I pause. “Why, wasn’t it good for you?”

It’s not that the sex is bad. It’s fine. Well, that makes it sound bad. It’s more than fine.

It really is. He knows what he’s doing. He’s well seasoned—that’s what my friend Rose said when I told her about it the first time.

“No, I was having a great time. I just mean … you kind of left halfway through. Don’t know if you noticed?” He’s smiling as he pokes me.

He’s trying to make me laugh.

“Yeah don’t stress. Just had to pee. It’s all good.”

“You sure?”

And I start to cry. One of those horrible, gulpy cries that I try to silence and that only makes it louder. I’m shaking and he puts his arms around me as I dig my head into his chest and my cries grow louder.

I guess I shouldn’t have waited for my face to drip dry.

*

A slip of light peeks through the curtains. They aren’t closed properly.

My throat is dry so I move my tongue around it. Licking my lips, I taste salt.

Will is purring beside me. The soft hum of his snore annoys and comforts me in equal parts. His brow is relaxed and doesn’t bunch the way it does when he speaks. When he talks about his philanthropic endeavours they leap up to his hairline and down to his eyelid.

His lips are parted, slightly.

I pull my arm out of the doona I cocooned myself in, now smelling my own sweat. I reach for his face and stroke it, like mum did for me when I was little or sick.

His eyebrows—intact—are still.

I slip out of bed. Retrieving my dress from the floor, I pull it over my body. My undies are nowhere visible.

His favourite felt tip pen sits on his desk. I grab a post it.

Late for work. Had a great time. See you later.

Proofread once, and a second time too. Then add a smiley face.

I flit out of his room, careful not to let the door squeal.

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