Dust

RUTH DANIELL

Room Magazine - - MCMILLAN -

Most of the time it’s eas­i­est for her to think of it as an iso­lated, un­ex­pected event—one evening when he got a lit­tle car­ried away—in­stead of a long his­tory feel­ing his hands where she didn’t want them, her hands where she didn’t want them: his voice coax­ing her, past cur­few, to keep go­ing, please, if she re­ally cared she would stay a lit­tle longer, she would not leave him want­ing. It’s al­most eas­i­est to re­mem­ber the night he fi­nally pushed him­self into her be­cause there were times be­fore that when his fin­gers were as sharp, times she bled, so many times he pressed her hands around him. She would wait for his mouth to stop kiss­ing her, to slacken, for his body to sink into his bed, the wet spot widen­ing on the com­forter and slick across her fin­gers. Books had taught her that be­ing with some­one made you feel beau­ti­ful but she didn’t feel beau­ti­ful. She felt ugly.

He told her what they were do­ing wasn’t wrong be­cause they were in love, but she would drive home over the speed limit through the fog of Foothills Blvd, her skin crawl­ing with the tiny bac­te­ria she knew were liv­ing there, the dead skin cells shift­ing off her shoul­ders she worried be­longed to him. Most of dust is hu­man skin; she was cob­webs, filthy, balled up, drift­ing into the cor­ners no one could reach to clean.

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