His nails are raking circles across her back. The hot air barely stirred by the sluggish arms of the fan and a pressure on her chest like she can’t breathe. His mouth begins to kiss the circles he traced on her back. She pulls away, impatient with his overtures to desire. Hurt, he moves as far away as he can get on this small bed. She knows she should apologize but she gets up and walks to the window instead.

Clouds are gathering in the distance. In a sudden impulse, she pulls the window open. Just to feel the cool wind on her skin. She gasps as the first drop of rain hits her forehead. Lightning flashes and her face is lit up in that instant before darkness drowns her face again.

He gets up, pulled by something he cannot explain. He wants to touch her but she feels infinitely far away now. His desire is washed away, replaced with—what? The word filling his head and limbs with a dull ache, pushing up inside him like a well. He wants to say the word to hear it resound within his own ears, to know it.

View this story's 3 comments.