I wish my skin were hers. I pry beneath her wrist, slipping my nails into subdermal territory. She doesn’t flinch. I think I’m not there so I squirm. The pain she notices, an irritation. ‘What are you doing,’ she says. Love, I say, love, over and over until the words are in her veins. Love, love, love, love. ‘Stop,’ she says, ‘you’re full of shit.’ And I let her say it because of smiles, but she doesn’t realise how much I give away and what flows in to fill the void. Love, I say, and listen for a pulse.

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