They sit next to each other on the couch. The only light is from the kitchen and the moon. There is a faint tang of Sharizad’s sickness hanging somewhere in the room.
“Carry on with the story,” she says. The sides of their bodies are touching.
“It’s finished,” he says. “There isn’t any more.”
“There is more,” she says. “He will come into the shop again tomorrow afternoon, or the day after, and what will you do?”
“What can I do?” he says.
“He knows that you have been thinking about him,” she says. She looks around the room, into the corner shadows, as if she might have summoned something.
“How can he know that?” he says, leaning forward and turning to look at her.
“He’s sensitive,” she says, and shrugs. “That’s all.”
He looks disappointed.
“People drink,” she says, “because they feel everything.”
“How do you know why people drink?” he says.
She doesn’t respond. He doesn’t look away, though, and she finally meets his gaze without moving her head, raises her eyebrows and gives a slight shrug. His eyes roam all over her face, as if he’s appraising her. Then he sits back, but not touching her this time, and together they go on looking ahead, through the window, at the moonlit sky.
She can hear people laughing in another apartment. She doesn’t want to listen to any more stories, and decides that she will sit quietly for five minutes, and then she’ll go back into the kitchen, turn the radio on, and wash the dishes. But she can’t see the clock from where she’s sitting, and she wonders what five minutes feels like.
© Barry Lee Thompson and ‘Stories, by Barry Lee Thompson’, 2013.