The Warmth of the Other
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Night.

It's always night when you smoke, perched on your window like a flesh and blood gargoyle. You should be sleeping, but tonight you've only stared at the ceiling in quiet inquietude.

Night.

It's always nights like this one when you smoke. It's raining, the passing storm lingering still as the cigarette burns. Fire and water. Smoke and rain.

Night.

It's not the rain that makes it so. It's the body lying in the unmade bed behind you, intertwined with the sheets in formless union, arms and legs and sweat.

Is that why you stay out here, smoking? The rain is no second baptism, the smoke no cleansing incense. You'd do good to at least get dressed.

Go back.

That cigarette won't last forever. It'll burn to embers, and you'll be left with a blackened stump, a bitter aftertaste, the cold of night.

But then again, you can always light up another one.

So you do.

Like lipstick on my cigarette...

It never leaves your head, that song. You've made it a mantra, a prayer to be repeated every single time you smoke, every time a body takes that bed. Always taken, never empty.

You never smoke before an empty bed.

One body.

Two.

Three.

Four.

Makes no difference in the end. After the fire has consumed itself to ashes, when the revelers lie together in obscene slumber, you will remain, smoking your night away.

One body.

Two.

Three.

None.

None give more than they take, greedy. They wish to be satiated, anointed, worshipped.

Kiss.

Fuck.

Die.

Smoke.

Repeat.

This is not an exit, merely a window into the cold.

Third cigarette, third denial.

Why not go back? Back to bed, back to the warmth of the other.

Grey thunderclouds still smother the pitch black darkness, rain still runs down your face.

Night.

The body occupying your bed shifts in its sleep, alien to the storm —the storm that just passed over your heads— and to the one raging inside you.

Fuck me and marry me young.

So it is, back again.

Strange one you are, wishing away the body, but resenting its absence. Her absence.

Her.

Him.

They.

Matters not. Goes further than two by two, flesh.

Warmth.

You embrace the body as it embraces you, binding you anew.

Night.

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