a taste of bile

she sees him from afar, coming down the street, balancing a ton of grocery bags on skinny hands and arms, a tangle of plastic and clumsy limbs. she smiles, surprised, pleased. and he, well, he is a little short-sighted, so he only sees her when their noses are practically touching. he is shy, too shy but she kisses him anyway, flushing down his flustered look. he finally smiles too.

***

he looks all adorable, fragile and hurt, a smile and a cigarette perched on his lips; she also thinks that, like this, cornered and big-eyed, he appears raw and feral, like a wounded beast that, even showing teeth and growling, is on the inside just begging to be held in a warm cocoon, licking its wounds. so, he is there, in the back of the room, on the floor by the bed, hands on face, so pained and pale, caught in the middle of his own torn thoughts. in the best of situations, there is only this spastic moment: fright, flight and surrender. it surely as hell is his best look and their best moment in a long, long while – it is the one where she’ll try to hold and to clench, to soothe, and he’ll try to give himself, give everything up, to her, but won’t, for he can’t; for he has loved too much and been hurt one too many times and she can’t understand it, no one can. it is his secret and he shall keep it quiet, the price of his pride, the collateral of his shame, the only forbidden thing he will allow himself to have and no one else, and he shall not give it to her, not because she doesn’t deserve it, but because he loves her way too much already and he won’t be played as the fool again.

so, in the end, there is only this, the silence and the surrendering, the pain in the back of the skull, the stiff neck and the love she will whisper in his ear, together with his’, his own, that he will only profess after she falls asleep so she won’t know, so she won’t tell, so she won’t fear her own reaction, nor his: so she won’t walk all over him like the others. so he won’t be bent and broken again.

***

“I did not kick you out. I gave you up”, she says.

***

she sees him from afar, his jacket too big, hanging from his thinned down body, his once flushed pink cheeks like sharp edges of unforgiving bone. he doesn’t see her, his thick glasses fogged from the cold and wind.

She crosses the street.

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