Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Like A Sacrificial Lamb

He made two drinks. A large tea with too little sugar and a small coffee with too much milk. Rain collapsed through the window onto the wooden counter top of the dark grey kitchen, narrowly missing the drinks. The insignificant mint plant on the windowsill also remained dry. Despite the rain it was the hottest day of the year. It was humid, muggy, and only two ten-foot ferns short of a rainforest.

Frankie entered stage left, through the front door. Twenty something Italian-American, wearing seventies bell bottom jeans and another man's jumper she stole from a party. Her sleeves where rolled up past her dry elbows, exposing a rich tan but not a drop of water. She had not been stroked by the rain. The missing sandals from her feet hung from bruised fingertips, brown straps dangling.
He did not stare at her like he used to, but merely offered a flick of his eye out of the respect for the time they'd had together. She, Frankie, had stolen him from school three years ago. And now at nineteen it had become apparent that Peter did not need babysitting anymore.
Frankie shuffled along the tatty floorboards, scooping up the coffee with one hand and spilling half of it on the counter in the process. Peter could mop that up. Using her shoulder she barged into the pale blue boudoir. Well, barley. There was a white iron cast double bed, bare single mattress straddling it, and a dismembered figurine of Jesus half cowering underneath it. There was no God here. There was nothing here. The room distinctly lacked not just furniture: tat, clothes, the smell of sex. You know, salt, carbon dioxide, hormones and desire.
Frankie dropped her shoes and placed her coffee by the door and shoved it behind her. First she wrestled with her baggy shapeless jumper- a strangling mass of black cotton overwhelming her delicate frame. The jumper hit the wall and slid to the floor. Cloaked Jesus in a fit of inanimate blindness. Then she broke the zip on her trousers as she ripped the two halves apart, desperate to rid herself of them. Frankie kicked them off and they spun out of the open window.
She hesitated to chase after them. The majority of her clothes where at her lover's apartment, but yet the sweat and stains on her jeans where evidence that this is where she had been. Instead, Frankie strode to the window to asses the damage. They lay swamped in a oblong puddle, the cobbled pavement of Oxford breaking the movement of the water. Tourists scrabbled over the cobbles, except one. A middle-aged liverpuddlian. 'Oi Oi!' he hollered, eyes wide with glee, hands stretched over each side of his swollen stomach. The disgusting creature. She jumped back as if the cool wet air where hot coals, hands madly clasping over her body. The back of her knees crashed into the bed frame and sat her down with the crashing squeal of springs.

He gazed, almost mesmerized, at the bedroom door. He saw her. He saw her dying of desperation. Shaking off drops of the night, of her indiscreet indecencies. Peter knew everything there could ever be to know- everything was always all too painstakingly obvious, but this was one thing he did not care to know. He had no right to be jealous, and knew this too. They had sunk one last kiss three weeks ago and only lived together now out of convenience, or lack of money, you choose. His milkybar-kid blonde head had laid near dormant on the pillows of the sofa since, patiently waiting for the silently shut door to never open again.
He knew where she would lie, sideways on the mattress. He knew the twists and turns of her body. He remembered her breasts as clusters on the vine, as it where. As he had read in her precious bible. Peter closed his eyes, his skin glowing with the beauty of a white sand beach in the Caribbean. He ignored his tea on the side. Under his eyes, roamed a prowling thought. Frank. Frank, Frankie. And he waited for her to appear.
Peter folded his long hair over a shoulder, squeezed it into a red rubber band. Brushed two fine hairs from behind his ear with the tip of a fingernail, and they sliced downwards through the kerfuffle of air. She would come up with some excuse, going for a shower or something, or may not even dare speak at all perhaps. But she would emerge like a panther through the forest from behind that salmon pink door, mismatched with it's surroundings like the rest of the flat. He shifted his thick brow, relaxed and rested it, and his fingers curled around the counter top. The bare skin on his back tapped the wood as he waited, preyed even, knowing his call would not go unanswered. As always.

There it was. Frankie had been expecting his voice to shudder into her head at some point. It was only a matter of time before his so-called saintly patience wore thin, and they would continue to circle each other in the same old dance routine. The same ol' give 'n' take, same game, same lies they told themselves that Peter's power over her was legitimate.
She was unsure if this was a symptom of the mystery to her that was love, or some darker element of Peter. But when his mouth would not move and his words rang clear she had no choice to obey. Resistance never occurred to her at the time, only in the dead hours after he had got what he wanted out of her. She didn't know if other's where subjective to this, ghost she supposed, lingering in their heads. The essence of Peter purring in their heads, persuading wrong over right.
Frankie took her time though. Firstly she savored the feeling of the squidge of the carpet between her toes, fibers flicked in the crevices. As she stood upright something clicked in her bones and rang through her entire body like a church bell. Her body felt as empty and as cavernous as a church too, hungry and sick with knowing anticipation. She started slow but by the time she'd reached the golden doorknob her feet had gathered pace. The door was yanked open with the unwilling energy coarsing through her put to good use. There he stood, head tilted back and victorious, but with no usual smiling crowning his angelic face. Fraaank he purred, and she swore she could feel his words passing through her mouth like she had drunk them. Yet his mouth remained comfortably closed. In fact his licked his lips with a deep pink muscle, preparing himself for his show.

Peter moved forward, hips first rather than feet. He bled more words into her. Play nice, I know you want to. He knew she didn't want to, not if she'd just some back from her lover's place. Peter took hold of her, dug his fingers into her flesh. She stood still, but Peter could feel his words blooming inside her head, forcing her closer. 

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