As a cool-down post after the fury of yesterday and subsequent discussion, for today, it's just going to be another one from last winter's writing binge.
WHEN WE WERE YOUNG - by Jonathan K. Lee
The smoke from the last cigarette of the summer spread out across the slightly damp cement of the ceiling. John took a drag and offered it to Nancy who was slightly dozing and laid curled into him. She wrinkled her nose a little at the smell of the burning tobacco.
“No thanks. I’m good,” she said, bringing her right arm up across his stomach and taking hold of his left shoulder. Under the weight of her head, John could feel the slight dampness of her hair against his chest. He wrapped his right arm around her back as she shifted on him a little.
“Does it hurt?”
“Are you okay?”
“Yeah, I’ll be fine. Let’s just stay like this for a bit.”
“I want a beer. Do you want one?”
She sounded more awake now. “I’ll share yours.”
“Okay. One sec.” John shifted off the worn out sofa with the broken spring and padded across to the fridge in the corner. Nancy, still naked, curved her knees into her chest. John opened the fridge and took out one of the cold Labatt’s. He turned and leaned against the closed fridge. The top edge of the door felt cold against the back of his thighs.
“What are you doing?”
“Just looking at you,” he said, popping the can with a metallic snap. “I was just thinking of how beautiful you are.”
“Come back here.”
John went over and lay down next to Nancy again on the broken sofa, placing the cold can on the floor. His feet felt dusty, yet Nancy curled straight back into him. “I love you,” he said.
“Thank you. I love you too.”
“I think you’re wonderful.”
Nancy shifted and moved off his chest a little, coming up so they were face-to-face. “I liked it here, you know,” she said, “For the first time.”
“Sorry I couldn’t take you anywhere special.”
“No, I liked it, that we did it here. It was good.”
“Are you okay?”
“I think so. It hurts a little but I’ll be fine.”
“I love you. You know that?”
“I know it,” she said with a smile, and paused before clapping her hand on his chest. “What do you want to do?”
“No, I mean next year or 1989 or in ten years.”
“I don’t know. What about you?”
“I think I’d like to work with animals in Africa.”
“Yeah, that’s what I’ll do. That’s what I want to do. I want to work with lions. Be like a vet or something.”
“What about me?”
“I don’t know. What do you want to do? You must want to do something. What are you going to be in ten years?”
“Astronaut or something.”
“Be serious, I want to know.”
“I am. I want to be an astronaut.”
She took her hand off his chest. “You’re not taking this seriously.”
“No, I’m not,” he said, before reading the look in her eyes. “Okay, remember that movie we watched a few weeks ago?”
“No, the other one. The one about the college students that just graduated from Georgetown.”
“I want to make films like that. Proper films.” Nancy reached over to pick up the can, resting it on John’s chest. “Hey, that’s cold, you know,” he said, shivering a little.
“You want to make films? That’s so cool. I can see you as a film director.”
“Seriously – that is cool.” She drank from the can. “Can I be in one of your films?”
“Are you an actress now?”
“I can be.”
“What about Africa? I thought you were going to work with lions.”
“I don’t know.” She drank from the can again. “I could do both, I guess. I think I just want to stick with you though.”
“Yeah, I can be your muse.”
“I like that.”
“I like it too. Muses are cool. Can I have cards that say ‘muse’?”
Nancy lay down again, and started to drift. As she went under, John pulled an old blanket across them to keep warm. He squeezed her shoulder a little. It was getting late and cool, and goose-bumps were starting to form over both of them.
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See you tomorrow.