She leans forward to scrutinise her reflection, dodging the voids in the glass where the silver has aged and peeled away. Portions of her are missing wherever she stands but by swaying and ducking, she finally sees her face, though sectional, disjointed. There are no signs of strain, no nervous tics or twitches that might give her away.
Gordon’s been dipping in and out of the water all day, slick and shining wet as seal, while she clung to the safety of the sands. Now he’s beached on a stack of grey striped pillows, his hands clasped behind his head, a white shadow of skin along his hairline. His nose is red, the tip flaking.
She watches him in the mirror. His eyes are closed, his breathing long and deep, a soft inhalation, a catch, the air turned gravelly by slack vocal chords. She’s never examined another person as much as she has Gordon these last days. She always thought skin was skin, but his is detailed, peaks of moles, troughs of scars, a forest of hairs at the base of his neck.
Has she ever been this hot before? The bowl on the washstand is full and she waits for the water to settle, considers drinking the whole lot down, as if it’s a cup of cloudy punch. Her sundress unzipped and poised to drop, she turns her attention back to herself. Where Gordon is copper and bronze, she is white with crimson details, her hair damp with sweat, the usually tight curl stretched into soft waves. The skin under her arms sticks to itself, only coming apart with a quiet sucking, and she imagines stepping into a bath, waiting for the water to lap the sweat away.
The sundress drops around her ankles. She’s sharp, her shoulders right-angles, her bones moulding skin into triangles and trapezoids, a geometry lesson for Gordon to run his hands over. She looks for signs that her flesh is bulking, finally billowing into feminine curves, but finds only straight lines. Her bra is a sad joke, the cups deflated to her chest, only there to save her modesty, or at least they were – after three days of marriage she has shed her outmoded coyness, something that she’s happy to be rid of.
‘Come to bed, wife.’ His reflection beckons, burrowing under the covers until she can see little of him except a copper hand and the red tip of his nose. She steps out of her sundress, leaving the water in the bowl.
Tis Mothers’ Day weekend here in the UK, which means at present, I’m making bouquets for other well-deserving mothers. I will not be able to read or commenting for a few days, but bear with me my dears, I’ll return to you soon.