Dogs and lovers

The night was hot and the sweat ran down to the small of her back. She reached the pedestrian street where people jostled each other. The smart, the young, deformed, old and eccentric. Close to the city only a few convenience shops were still open with immigrants working the twilight hours.

Her dog pulled and became tangled with a passer-by. It would be tethered behind the gate where she knocked lightly and it opened ajar. Her lover stood half naked at the bottom of the stair and took her hand. Pulling her up to his room with no words said, and the sex was urgent.

The room was spartan and she looked up at the bare yellow bulb. The bed smelled of old sweat and her lover. There was no one to help clean and fetch and choose eye catching decor. There was a laundry basket overflowing and a stained sink. She washed herself and remembered how her lovers had been. When they could stay in a room for days, only leaving for food or for wine and cigarettes. Before time was short and dreams had turned to shadows.

She was tempted to stay, to help out, to call her husband and call it all off but she left. The children still needed her and what could she do? No job, no income, no ideas. Directionless. She left alone with her dog to hide at a cafe, enjoying some wine, avoiding her gossiping friends. Her fellow inmates, trapped, obsessed with their dogs and their lovers.

 

The lover and the stranger

She counted the days since she saw her lover and she counted the years of her marriage to the stranger she had loved.

She didn’t care for her lover and he didn’t ask for her help or anything. He didn’t know her fears or her loves, but only her sex and its wants because that was all she was willing to give.

The stranger took his toll. He expected food and someone to care for the children. They rarely said more that a few words and she wondered if he suspected and she doubted he would care. He seemed content in not knowing.

She caught him watching porn once and was surprised that he still had an interest. They fucked occasionally but she was alone while he rode on top, crushing her, grunting then rolled away and went back to his television. She read books, about distant places and dreamed but doubted she would ever leave.

Her lover asked if she would go with him to Melbourne for a weekend and she wondered how. She didn’t wish to push her luck, yet she yearned to go. It would be exiting and her sister could take care of the children. But she couldn’t invent a convincing lie so she declined and went back to the stranger.

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