The Space Between
By Anna Marie
Thursday afternoons we’d slink to my forgotten studio apartment on First Ave and Armstrong from the drugstore on Houston. The building was tossed between a rundown barbershop and an overflowing Chinese restaurant. We would squirm inside, away from the prying eyes of the druggies that loitered on the stoop. We’d venture to the top floor, the elevator a creaking vessel. She’d always fidget with her nails on the way up – easing away the thin layer of red polish on each finger. We’d exit, finding the hallways dark, sprawling caverns void of any personality save for the smell. Upon entering my place, we’d relinquish information about our semi-complete week under desperate fluorescents that were in constant, dire need to be replaced. We’d mash together contrived stories and loose information, anxious to slip a little normality into our situation.
I’d offer her a seat at the café style table that I never ate at and she’d giggle, run her finger across the filthy tabletop and call me names. Then she’d approach the window, carefully peek through the mini-blinds and look over her shoulder at me. “I can’t see anything but dust!” She’d jerk the blinds all the way up, flooding the room with midday sunlight and an airborne galaxy of dust. She’d peer down at that vast city below – the crack addicts orbiting street corners, the drones scrolling to and fro, the construction workers toiling away at the caverns in the concrete.
She’d turn, look at me with those spirited eyes and we’d make our journey over to the bed – a twin-sized mattress sprawled out carelessly in the middle of the room like a lonely satellite. She’d dress herself up in one of those inexpensive half-smiles and we’d discuss abductions, black holes or crop circles. She could read me like a book, injecting me with talks of the supernatural all the while arousing me with her intellect. Rambling on, those billowy lips of hers told more than just interesting stories. Her vast knowledge of the unknown evoked curiosity within me; a desire to delve into the spaces of her mystery.
Eventually, we’d recline onto the 200-thread-count sheets that I’ve never changed and lose ourselves. My hands would swirl through her hair – a mess of curls that’d change colors with the season. She’d place pecks on my cheeks, my neck, my lips. I’d wheeze as I tried to keep up with her and evade the dust floating through the air. Her hands would engage robotically, exploring my body like she had so many times before. Playfully, she’d laugh as she stroked my plume of gray chest hair. She’d plead lamely and I’d submerge beneath the blanket and land between her fleshy thighs. After a few minutes of exploration, her approvals resounded in my ears like exploding stars. She’d graze her fingers across my head’s smoothness, signaling me and I’d timidly mount her, shaking on my weak, phantom knees. She’d pull me close to her, eclipsing me with kisses while forcing my hands to caress her freshly developed form and I’d surrender. My eyes would roll back and I’d see the lunar ceiling with its plaster craters. I’d tumble over and we’d lay next to each other in a sort-of silence – my huffing breaths beside her calm android frame.
In time, she’d perch on the edge of the bed, and lean back – her slender white body, a foreign being against the celestial blue sheets. While looking at me, she’d roll her eyes and huff under her breath like a discomforted teenager – just like my teenager. She’d always tell me, with her alien finger extended and wagging, that she could do better than me. She’d scramble into her khakis and monogrammed polo and look down at me – a decaying zombie of a man. Then she’d adjust her ponytail, slam a kiss onto my Martian forehead and depart, returning to her station on Houston.