Thursday, 23 April 2009

Two Lovers Against A Wall -- David Moran

She stood straight, her chin slightly lifted with her back against the wall. The twilight wind blew loose dirt and empty wrappers down the street. As the old man pressed himself against her, she didn’t seem overly concerned. Her fur collared coat rubbed against the grimy surface and the green skirt that met her knees blew against the brick. She wasn’t flustered, she was calm and even a little dismissive of the sky that hung above them. Whenever she was alone with him, everything else felt like an intrusion.

With a lit cigarette hovering by the side of his long black raincoat in one hand, the man gently stroked the cheekbone of the woman with his other as he leaned forward and kissed her. Once finished she smiled back at him with all her innocence before rather sneakily taking the remainder of his cigarette and putting it to her mouth; her eyes squinting slightly as the smoke met her lungs. She puffed a cloud of smoke directly at him. Although it was just to tease; he moved back a foot or so from her, clutching his hat as the wind kicked. For a moment, she looked a little worried that he was no longer so intimately with her, but it was really only for a moment.

Tall, slender with high cheekbones and pale smooth skin, her smile revealed the tiny dimples on her cheeks. The old man whispered a few words, delicately tucking some loose strands of blond hair behind her ear. The dimples were revealed without transition, as if dawn had just dispersed night.

With his chapped lips he couldn’t resist taking another kiss. It was a kiss that was far more tender than the stubble that covered the lower half of his face. He was a tall and thick-boned old man. He easily had fifteen years or more on the youthful woman. His shoes were modest in cost but a cared for shiny black. His briefcase looked worn and stretched like a boxer’s jaw. It was a traditional leather green and when clutched in his grip it often made him look vintage. Despite their sinister surroundings, visible through impeding fog, he seemed self-assured. Each time the woman glanced down the street at the puddles, at the shadows and queer faces lingering from doorways of abandoned houses; he took her fingers in his hand -- rubbing them until she was again and fully with him; no longer distracted by the mists of the night.

Embracing the warmth of their close contact, they stared at each other with a sincere longing that required little explanation. Another kick of wind acted as an excuse for the man to wrap his arms around the woman's curvaceous hips, happily allowing the backs of his hands to meet the rough brick with an assertiveness that would have left the most unwitting in no doubt that she was his.

Still, it grew late, and the evening activities of the street began to gather pace. The odd stray cat scampered across the road on its tiptoes, occasionally stopping to sniff discarded takeaways and stretch in a manner that exposed feeble bone. Casual whining could be heard from the weaker cats, no doubt crazed from delusional hunger, in the corner of a basement, further on down the road.

Sly faces came and went from buildings, the odd one exposed by the sole streetlamp yet to have its bulb shattered and spread across the pavement. Cars slowly crawled up and down, rarely stopping outside a building for any longer than it took for a figure to lurch from a doorway. Their surroundings were not modest or kind. In the sun light the street lay dormant, resentful to the new day which stopped old habits from roaming freely. Yet to both the woman and the old man, the broken street where they stood was a simple place where they could meet and be alone together, away from the distractions of their lives.

“It will always be you,” she said, her eyes meeting his once her chin was lifted a little more upright.

The old man lit another cigarette, and then sighed as the woman stroked his cheek.

“No, it will always be you,” he replied.

The woman gave the old man a kiss that would linger in his mind long after he had left her. A car horn tooted. As she looked over his shoulder and into the window of the car parked across the road, her eyes began to fill with tears. It was a black, expensive looking car, and the round figure who sat behind the steering wheel seemed to care very little about them or their moment. The old man didn’t bother to turn around, instead he tugged the strap on the woman's coat tightly like a hungry child would on their mother’s dress. Her red lips trembled a moment, but knowing that two pairs of eyes were now expecting something from her she managed to just gain control; and with a finality, she gave her full attention to the old man.

“It’s not forever,” she said, kissing him firmly, until saliva threatened to spill from their lips. “It’s not forever.”

Again the horn was tooted, and this time the old man had to take the briefcase from the pavement so he could distract his mind. He was no longer looking at her and neither was she at him. All they had left of the day were memories, and the cruel formality of the night. Slowly the woman made her way across the street, her heartbeat very nearly overcoming her.

The round man sat in the car smoking on a fat cigar, tapping his thumbs nonchalantly on the steering wheel, no attempt to open the door for her. The woman chose to sit in the back, and once the door was closed, the round man drove away.

A pink neon light from the brothel flickered to life above the old man’s head. Once fully lit he turned until he was facing the empty spot where the car had been parked. The man didn’t bother to look to his right or acknowledge the two women offering him a sly service as they passed in fishnet tights. Quietly and without fuss, the old man pressed his back against the wall where the woman had stood until the rain began to fall.



Photo Credit: keepwaddling1 on Flickr

About the Author: David was born in a small fishing village on the East coast of Scotland. His family moved from Scotland to England regularly, and for a brief period he spent time in Budapest. He is inspired by writers such as Hemingway, Kerouac and Rimbaud. "Voices that always sounded as if they were on the move."

He has studied creative writing at Buckingham, completed placements with independent magazines, worked on farms, in bookstores and for charities. He has lived in London, Toronto, Krakow, and traveled Europe and North America extensively.

David has completed one novel, is working on a second and has published many short stories and "a pile of poems."