I called, but your name lodged below my voice box and like a bubble, it floated until it popped. Slowly I turned back the bed, cotton sheets now held the smell of stale lovemaking sweat and perfume. Bare feet kissed the wooden floors leaving a mist; an impression of where I walked. Across the room down to the utility with my arms full. Once loaded I glanced down, my nose curled, my mouth sticky and memories flooded back. I peeled my dishevelled stained night shirt from my aching self and it joined the sheets. My mind was busy trying not to think as I scrubbed and soothed my flesh, steam covered the pointless tracks on my cheeks as Rag n Bone man’s lyrics pounded over the sound of the shower ‘I’m only human after all. I dropped a pill, swigged stale coffee left on the drainer and sat wrapped in a towel. The dusk alerted the back of my mind it snook in to disturb my … nothing, my emptiness.
This was ridiculous I am a grown woman Out loud I said ‘pull yourself together’. For the next week or so I was working on auto, walking to work doing my admin answering when I had no choice, until Friday night backpack on ready for home I felt him watching. A damp trickle formed between my breasts as I scanned left to right, I knew he was there somewhere. Head down, my shoes slapped against the damp tarmac, three, four, slap slap, counting, walking determined not to be startled. ‘Hi toots, I thought it was you, fancy a drink’? His voice I was ready for I let a smile touch my lips. ‘No thanks, busy busy’ I strode on. Almost jogging now alongside me breathlessly he stopped me with ‘Hey hey what’s the hurry, come on we can continue where we left off,’ he twisted a strand of hair by my cheek as he bent at the knees to peer into my face. ‘I said I am busy now please just’ I snatched my shoulder from his grasp and carried on. I didn’t look back, slow down or think about him I just allowed my feet to pound the pavement slap, slap, slap. Ashamed that’s what I was, ashamed and regretful and I couldn’t accept what it was I had done. Weeks had passed since he met me from work but I still felt uneasy, he hadn’t called or text or poked me on Facebook, but still, I was wary. Maybe he didn’t know my name either, I couldn’t remember him using it.
Angie and Jack had been arranged for months dinner with friends that would get some normality back. I tousled my hair and dressed casual but nice, I pouted in the mirror checking my lippy, that was the most relaxed I had been for a month or more. After fajitas, we had tequila and chilli chocolate buns with mallow topping her food amazing as always. Ange and I laughed and reminisced about school, Jack cleared up and Angie and I began to talk freely. ‘What’s doing girly? You have been somewhere else for a while, I thought we trusted each other, told every grizzly detail like we always have’. Jack called through, he was walking to the pub leaving us to our stuff while he indulged in a lairy game of pool. Ange followed for a kiss she grinned and mouthed thanks as she closed the door. ‘Well … I’m listening’. She did that thing, that glaring eye staring folding arm thing that she does when she’s mad.
‘Nothing to say really, I just, well I was stupid, a slut and I, I am ashamed. After Todd and I finished I felt lost, God that is so cliché, but I didn’t feel attractive or wanted…’ I dropped my head in my hands roughly rubbed my cropped hair and grunted.’ Ange plopped on the edge of the chair with me rubbed my shoulders as I released a yowl so guttural I startled myself. ‘C’mon you’ll feel better, I won’t judge you-you know me better than that’. I scrubbed my face with my palms and wiped them down my thighs. ‘I went to that club on the corner the one with the tattooed bouncer the cut gay guy… I had some jagger bombs and I … began to dance winding myself round guys legs rubbing up behind them. They didn’t know me nor me them, it was sort of a freedom a liberating sexy I know, a slutty thing to do. The bouncer Jason pulled some guy off me for stuffing his hand up my skirt, he tried to call a cab but I wasn’t having any of that. In my head, I was showing Todd even though he wasn’t there. Next thing I know is I take this guy Marks mouth in mine and he mouthed a wafer under my tongue… don’t get me wrong I wanted, I was reckless. I’ve been having flashes come back to me of the stuff we did, the table the kitchen outside the front door for god’s sake. He met me from work one night a week or so later it freaked me out, how could I be so stupid, it was fine he just wanted … more he hasn’t been back. I’ve been petrified, I took him home, the things we did, don’t say anything I can’t cope with your disgust too.’ We sat for a while with a box of tissues between us Ange crying for and with me, me crying out of self-pity and shame. ‘I went to the clinic on Duke Street and had tests… well you just don’t know, do you. I find out in a fortnight but so far several are back and I’m clean just waiting on Hepatitis and HIV. I would not hold it against you if you never spoke to me again.’
Clearing the dinner debris and emptying the dishwasher although together, it was completed in silence. We made coffee and Jack came in the front door pink-faced, smiling and relaxed, he pulled a face pouted his bottom lip and said ‘I am going up bye then’ and he gently closed the door. Red-eyed and nervous I said ‘I can not cope without your friendship please don’t hate me’. I held both her hands and stared into her face. ‘For the last time I will not ever hate you, but I am hurt, hurt because I was too busy to see the effect Todd’s affair had on you because you felt you couldn’t come to me, I let you down and you put yourself at risk’. Sometimes we do stupid things, sometimes it is no one’s fault but our own… and sometimes we are lucky enough to walk away unscathed. I Jane Masters, head of finance, single thirtysomething female, should have known better but I won’t get it wrong twice, but as the song says … I’m only human after all.
Flower photo borrowed /thieved temporarily from Geoff LePard I thank you, Geoff. Press here to visit the master🔜 here🔚
A new venture into a different genre yet again inspired by the magnificent Rag n Bone man song I hope you enjoyed both the song and the story I look forward to your comments *waves*.