Monday, July 12, 2010

Sleeping Lips

He wakes before her and looks at her face. A small brown face with large, voluptuous lips. Maybe because of the sunlight filtering into the room, or his mood, or probably just because of those sleeping lips, he kisses her on them, just for a second, just a peck. Her lips feel big and juicy. His heart beats fast, before and after. After the kiss he jumps up and runs into the kitchen.

Then she wakes. At first her voice is normal, maybe just a touch sharp and cold. ‘Why did you do that?’

But he already knows he’s made a big mistake. There’s no going back now. He thinks of saying, ‘Because I love you’, but what actually comes out is: ‘I wanted to piss you off’. He didn’t mean to say that, but that’s what came out.

When he walks back to her into the bedroom she throws everything she can find within grabbing distance at him: books, compact discs, a pillow, an ashtray.

And after shouting at him, belittling him, demeaning him, even calling him a rapist, she stops talking to him altogether. It was an act of betrayal.

In one of the armchairs he’d found in a skip she sits in the Buddha position all day and all night. She doesn’t even appear to blink, and stares straight ahead at nothing. Even when he apologies, pleads, begs and finally shouts at her does she not even twitch. Not even when all he can possibly say is ‘I love you.’ It’s too late.

He manages to sleep at about 2am. When he awakes some six hours later she is almost packed and ready to leave him for good.

He begs, apologies and pleads some more in a febrile, desperate manner. He stands in front of the door naked and says he can’t let her go. She can’t even look at him, let alone talk to him. And then she gives him just one quick look. A cold look of such hate and passivity that he moves out of the way and she walks out of the door.

He remembers a scene from the film The Fifth Element, which he had seen recently with his friend Lee. Things hadn’t worked out with Lee either. Brighton was a dump, and it got both of them down. He finds it hard living with anyone: best friends and lovers especially. He doesn’t mind strangers too much. But like travelling with someone you care about, living with them day after day in a box proves to be too much.

Bruce Willis kisses the sleeping Fifth Element and she pulls a gun on him.

She says some words in her ancient language which Ian Holm later translates as meaning ‘not without permission’.

He dresses quickly and runs out of the flat towards Brighton train station. He sees her at the station asking the guard about trains to London. Then he sees her about to buy a coffee and a muffin at a stall. He goes over to tell her another food stall is doing a special offer: coffee and muffin for 99p, but she takes no notice.

He watches her with her two heavy suitcases as she walks into the distance along the platform. Somewhat out of character, he screeches out at the top of his voice, ‘I love you!’, and she turns and looks at him briefly one last time before she boards the train for London.

(Brighton, 1997)

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