"I like your dress."

Two moments, one dress. A comparison, a perspective, a realisation. 

He gently lifted me, separating us with such ease considering we had been so physically inseparable before, hands on hips and fingers on silk. I subtly rearranged myself as best I could, not wanting to cause any fuss or give the impression that I was over-thinking anything, while all the time I absolutely was; I slid down next to him in his narrow bed, the distastefully orange sheets were harsh on my eyes and his sleepy face oddly offered me no comfort. As he drifted closer to ‘afterwards’ oblivion, I lay with my eyes wide open and wondered at how many girls he’d had here before, and how many he’d have after me. Whose imprint was I rudely filling right now? A few names crossed my mind, at an agonizingly slow pace to ensure I didn't miss a single one; shutting my eyes didn't help, I just saw them written on my eyelids. The feeling of just being a number, of being utterly forgettable and meaningless to someone who means the world to you, it cuts like a razor on your wrist. I could be 7, I could be 102... I hope he keeps track. I know I do. There were so many things I wanted to say – what did this mean? Do we ignore it, carry on as normal, keep it a secret as usual? I certainly didn't want to forget it, even if he did. I turned to look at his peaceful face; of course, he had no trouble sleeping now. I’d be awake all night, wondering and wishing, while he’d be dreaming. Better not bother him any longer. I rose, pulled on my panties and headed for the door. I was closing my fingers around the handle, careful to keep quiet, when I heard him say: “I like your dress.”

I woke in his arms, the entire duvet wrapped around me while he lay uncovered. I’d somehow stolen all the bedclothes and pillows in the night, and he didn't mind. His subtle snoring didn't annoy me. My tendency to roll around and stretch out didn't bother him. Bliss. I kissed his bristly face. The taste of last night was still in the air between us, the earthquakes now harmless and the happy memories as intoxicating as the whiskey. I sit up slowly, in no rush to leave and feeling no shame in my skin. The feeling of warm satisfaction filled me up as I gazed out at the cold morning beyond the sanctuary of the bedroom. I shut my eyes, wanting this moment to be what I remember; good things can happen, I am not just a number, someone might just care... Gathering my clothes is an arduous task, the day ahead is painful in its inevitability. I’d like nothing more than to just stay here for almost-ever, please and thank you. I’d also like to wake up to the sound of a guitar and the smell of cigarette smoke, every day. It’s definitely coffee time. I’m pulling on my panties and slipping on last night’s clothes, when he looks at me, smiles and says: “I like your dress.”


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