Thursday, 5 July 2012
Rag, Skin And Bone - FridayFlash
In some places his body reproached his self-neglect, by wrapping the shrunken skin tight to the cheese-wire of protuberant bone. Yet the terraced folds at the base of his scraggy throat suggested a chicken about to have its neck wrung. The muscles there had atrophied so as to barely carry the weight of his sunken head. Not that he was moved to look the world in the eye anyway.
Which was why he bumped into her. Hard. Of course their coexistence in proximate space within the whole cityscape, was down to the unlikely probabilities so delighted in by ill-fate. But once so inopportunely wrangled, the collision was perhaps inevitable. Since the impact happened to be with a particularly angular and bony part of him, her face screwed up in what- pain or an upbraiding scowl? The noise that would have betrayed which of the two, was about to emit from her mouth, when she caught herself (which steered the view that it couldn't have been reflexive pain after all. Maybe he just lacked the bone density to register any kind of impression). Presumably she had pierced his involuntary disguise as a skeleton and recognised him as her former lover. That might advise mental shock as being stronger than, or at least can act as a retardant on, physical pain.
They began to converse in the middle of the street, while pedestrians bifurcated around them like a corps de ballet. They talked only of the inconsequential. Since the consequential was all too blatant wasn't it? For never once did she comment on his haggard appearance. Maybe she hadn't noticed, although her initial dawning realisation while the pain signals were travelling up the trunk of her wondrous neck tended to gainsay that. Also, in their time together, she had licked every part of his skin, committing the topography of his body to her memory. She could assuredly reconstruct his form in the dark, like soldiers assembling their guns behind a blindfold. There was simply no way she could have failed to notice.
Maybe she just couldn't let herself acknowledge his deterioration, lest it crush her beneath a cataract of guilt. Or perhaps she just simply didn't care. After all, here was she looking utterly radiant. Her skin positively glowed with a sheen. Her lips looked even fuller and more luscious than when he used to adhere them to his own, though conceivably their present state could have been chemically assisted. In which case she must have come by a source of money.
God she smelled good, unlike him with his carious breath and unscourged odours. But if the sour hooks of his rotting self reached her nose as they unfailingly must have, she wasn't letting on. Even her clothes- new clothes he couldn't recall from their shared walk-in closet- looked fabulous on her. They clung in such a way as to accentuate the sinuous curves of her body, unlike his scarecrow rags which only served to hollow him out. They must have been expensively tailored to flow like that. Yes, she had come by a source of money alright. The only question whether it was a primary or secondary wellspring.
Clearly she was flourishing, while on the other end of the pendulum swing, he was disintegrating. And that had been the tidemark of their relationship too. Someone was going to suffer either way in how things could shake out. If they had stayed together, she would be the one forever trapped within her chrysalis, unable to take off and soar. By leaving, she could bloom and prosper, while he just collapsed in on himself utterly bereft.
It had been his decision to let her go. He knew the likely toll exerted on him, but he loved her so much that he could not bear to keep her wings clipped. They hugged for a final time, whereupon the two hundred odd bones of his skeleton dislocated within the soft flesh pouches of her embrace.