• Vol. 09
  • Chapter 09


She coughs. This grass is too strong for the morning. Still in her bed she watches him bending over the cracked sink, splashing and rinsing his face in cold water cupped in his palms from the running tap. Then, ‘Hey,’ she says louder than she’d meant to – ‘don’t scrub your face with the towel, just pat it dry darling.' She holds her breath: ‘darling’ had slipped out unintentionally, in just the same way her mother says it to her. She knew her mother would have called him ‘a beast’.

His voice comes back muffled in the towel – ‘It’s nice though,’ he says ‘– refreshing: a good scrub dry.’

She was thinking ‘Had he heard the darling’? She hoped not.

He was thinking ‘Did she mean it?’ He didn’t know if he liked it.


She continues thinking. ‘He’s cleaning his face on my towel.’ Then she glances at his crumpled jeans and t-shirt dumped on the floor right next to her chair.

He continues thinking. ‘Why hasn’t she got a plug for the sink? She doesn’t use my name much.’

Both of them recognize this is a tipping point and it’s come too soon.