He followed her into the apartment and scanned the room. She was looking at him, seemed amused by his presence. He tried to read her eyes, they looked greener today, but maybe that was just because of the color of her sweater; he was distracted.
He had come on a whim. If the train hadn’t been an express, he would have gotten off at the first stop, but now he found himself staring at the stains on her dirty carpet. They seemed out of character. She got him a beer from the fridge and started flipping through her record collection, “ordered alphabetically by decade” she said, not without some pride. After she found what she was looking for, he observed her perform the ritual of putting on a record with great care. The inner sleeve slid out, the smooth vinyl a perfect black sun carefully balanced between two fingers, the deck purrs, the arm falls slowmotion, a crackle, some static, the groove picks up, the silence broken by the crooning liquid voice of Chris Isaak. His heart sank and jumped up at the same time. A wave of nostalgia, student life filled with delayed teenage angst. They sat, listening, drinking. “Do you know that Monty Python argument sketch?” She confessed her fantasy of having a fight with him, starting with a minor irritation, escalating into a full blown shouting match. “There’s a familiarity about your character that reminds me of home, annoying and safe”. He dared not ask about the makeup sex that flashed in his imagination while she said this.
Where did it actually start? She couldn’t remember. There was that time when she had almost spoken out, edged on by alcoholic fatalism, the alcohol seemed to release something, a glow, Dutch courage, a sense of abandon. Normally kept in check and now he was standing in her living room. Everything else had been a postponement. The moment was here. They were alone, no colleagues, no witnesses, just them and their fantasies rushing through their minds. He had broken through the wall of illusion, by coming here he had made it a reality, fragile and dangerous. It was too late to stop it, but still too early to enjoy.
Song for today: Chris Isaak – Wicked Game