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"Our shaky hands, our smoke, the cold coffees on the table witnessed how lonely we were. How we used that as an excuse to play cards with other lonely souls on cold December nights." Enjoy!

Banu A. Abdulrahman
Age Rating:

Chapter 1


As she stepped in front of the doctor that day, she was bleeding on the floor. Nobody saw the bright red droplets, “silly girl, she messed up with her red lipstick again!“, but he could.

“ Do not look at me like that! I have gotten stitches before, I will be alright.” She said as soon as he laid eyes on her.

“This is not like the other times. Was writing some unrhyming sentences worthy of all this damage?” The doctor said as he stood straight in front of her, bent his knees a little and took a long look at the open wound on her chest.

Her skin was more pale than usual, or was it the red blood dripping down its soft, round edges? He could not tell, but that wound needed cleaning, it needed closure. She started reading to distract herself from the pain.

“She had made sure to smell, to dress nice all week, she did not know when she would see him again, the boy with the sweet laugh, familiar scent and thirsty lips. It was never a promise, he was not someone who gave any, he simply did not know. He needed some love, he deserved it. He did not know, but she did. Their shaky hands, their smoke, the cold coffees on the table witnessed how lonely they were. How they used that as an excuse to play cards with other lonely souls on cold December nights. One minute he was telling the life story of a cat, the other he stopped to gaze at the tree with the darkening orange leaves. His voice deepened as he was admiring its shades. She kept looking at his face and realized, the tree had as much life as they did, it was having a change of leaves, they of hearts. One rainy day after another, she went to him, full-heartedly; fruitlessly. She held his hands that were held before, played with his hair like many had before. Her shiny lustful eyes rested on his as she approached his softly open mouth. She whispered in his ear; “but first promise me there was this wouldn’t ruin us, that you would not leave.” she did not wait for an answer, what he said would not be valid anyway. Nothing said under such pressure would be. Half-reassured, or just careless, she kissed him unlike any other, or so it was in her chaotic mind. From that day on, she kept hiding him in her hands, the way a child hides a piece of candy. Hoping he would last longer than the orange leaves. He did not”.

She was reading from her messy notebook, to show that all the bleeding was worth it, to prove the doctor, or herself, wrong. It was hard to read steadily with a needle going in and out of her skin, she was breathing heavily when he said, “I am done, please continue!”

“What would the world be like if we could make our mothers happy, our fathers proud? Would flowers grow in the deserts? would this empty feeling go away? Maybe if I was not feeling so empty, I would not need to be filled up only to get broken into so many pieces.”

“I do not know young lady, you are forcing me into your shoes, they do not fit me. Can you please tell me how this cut happened now?”

“Laying in his room like a scarred piece of parchment, with soft strokes, she caressed his face and neck. Sweet was playing, and he was drawing on her skin, right where the stitches are now. She should have been, but he was the one shivering that day. Not the calm, but the warm before the storm. She had never seen such a calm face, how could he cause any harm? The day had had enough but she had not. Pulling away was necessary to retreat was necessary. It was a battlefield, none of them used defences. How do you wage a war against someone whose skin you have tasted, and left a mark on? So instead of bullets, laughing, whispering, sketching, a tulip and a soft, fading sunlight. He started to run in her veins like the drink she never learned how to pronounce, nothing to lighten the taste, pure and bitter. Trying to inhale the sadness and fear from his cold lips, was never the point. It was to watch him freeze outside his own home, hold his hands, run fingers through his almost-dry hair, to watch him trying to attentively finish his sketch. She wished for more, a bit more safety, more switching, more soft but wild pleasure. He owes her tea, they owe each other apologies.”

“It is like words are my Voodoo dolls, doctor. Whatever I write, becomes reality sooner or later.” She interrupted the story one last time.

“I do not understand…, can you stay still? You are bleeding through the bandage.”

She stood up to leave as she prepared to read the final lines, “She knew it, as she struggled to open the door when she left, that she would never see him in that light again. It ached and then faded into her, she was not a home to stay in, she was an adventure and she had to live with that. His marker was a needle that evening, he pushed it deep into her chest. It was his wound, but it was someone else’s to close, to heal.”


January 8th 2021.

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