Randy, Karen thought, was useful but too needy.
It’ll never last till Spring.
Randy shook two cigarettes from the crumpled cellophane packet on the bedside table and lit them both with his stainless steel Zippo. He offered one to Karen, sitting next to him in the bed, the sheet pulled up just below her breasts.
She took it, and they smoked together in silence, the room illuminated by the neon sign outside the window, along with the black and white picture on the muted television. She finished her smoke and stubbed it out in the ashtray next to the bed. She sat for a few seconds longer before tossing the bedding aside, rising and walking into the bathroom. She left the door open so he could watch, and he did.
She ignored him as he stared at her, watched her bend at the waist to turn the taps and start the bath water running. He watched her as she rolled her hair on top of her head, to keep it dry. He watched her step over the edge of the tub and pull the shower curtain. He watched the steam curl towards the ceiling as she washed every trace of him from her body.
They had agreed that she would leave first. He would stay in the room for another hour before going. They could take no chances.
She toweled off and padded back into the room, naked. She found her clothes that had been scattered hurriedly on the floor and sat back down on the bed, to dress.
“I’m going to leave Elaine,” he said. “I want to tell the world about us. I want to spend the rest of my life with you.”
She stood and turned to face him as he continued to profess his undying love. Leaning forward she put her finger on his lips to hush him; staring into his eyes.
“Let’s not let this cat out of the bag just yet.” She said.
He reached for her and she danced back and away, teasing him just a bit. She shrugged on her lime green blouse, covering herself with silk and fastening the buttons. “I graduate in the spring.” she reminded him, “We need to wait until then.” She kissed her finger and touched it to the end of his nose before turning. Karen snagged her bag on her way to the door, stepped out and into the hallway. “I’ll call you,” she said as the door closed slowly behind her.
Just like that she was gone. He groaned and buried his nose in the pillow where her head had been, trying to catch her scent.
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Poetry from a Dublin Scientist
"As we better understand the story, it is likely that its mystery does not decrease; rather it simply grows more beautiful" - Eudora A. Welty