For a moment we stand with threaded hands, not knowing, not sure.
“Do you want some breakfast?” Luc says when I’ve managed the steep descent of the stairs. “Just a coffee.” “Oh, we don’t have any coffee,” he says, “I don’t drink it. Neither does David.”
“That’s okay,” I say, though I feel a bit hurt by the reference to his absent lover.
I sit down on the arm of a couch. Outside, a couple of cold sparrows forage for scraps on the balcony, chasing one another out of view. Luc returns to the loft to strip the bed. As he pulls the sheets free I remember the night before – how he’d fallen back, exhausted; how he took the stain of me to bed with him, like some cherished thing, while I lay awake, feeling the ruin of the sheets, the bed, the world, till sleep took me. “Are you okay?” he asks. “Fine.” “Listen I’m sorry to kick you out like this, but I really have to get to the train station this morning. I’m going home for Christmas.” “Oh, okay. That’s fine.” We walk down to the street together. “Look. About last night...” I say. Poised to leave, I have already crossed the lip of the stairs. Luc is clutching his helmet, a bag of gifts under his arm.
“It’s okay,” he says. “Sometimes there are accidents.” “Yes,” I say. I watch him cross the road to his motorcycle. Even with grazed paintwork, it still looks shiny and exciting.
Matthew Lowe is a writer from Brisbane, Australia. When he is not getting lost in a book, lost books are getting out of him. www.matthewlowe.com.au