narrative fragment #2

Our hero is not a proud man, nor is he polite, so he simply stares at her across the room. She is engrossed in some other conversation and unaware, so it’s almost as though he were watching television. Her face is expressive and alert, and her eyebrows and eyes move quickly and constantly. Occasionally a strand of hair, too short really to be done up, falls and she instantly shoves it up with two fingertips, a tic he finds enthralling.

He sits back in his host’s chair and turns his attention to her shoulder and neck. She is delicately built and the curve of her shoulder, closely fit with a wool coat, attracts him. Frequently one hand will flip up and touch the shoulder as she makes a conversational point, or toy with the collar of the coat, emphasizing her fine bone structure and the line of her neck below her ear.

Finally she takes a break from the conversation and notices him. For a long moment she looks directly at him with a cat’s cool unblinking gaze. Then a tiny quick half smile and she’s up to walk down the hall towards the restroom.

On bare feet as she walks away, her woman’s weight is immediate, real, a touch and not a picture, thumping along to the back of the apartment. He can feel it in his stomach like a little temblor.He knows now that he needs her physically and staring won’t do anymore. By the time she’s settled back in her seat he’s outside, through the screen door with a crash, partygoers watching his back as he bolts off pitched forward and striding down the dark suburban street, fumbling for a cigarette and coughing at the sudden cold.

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