I feel her hand on my shoulder, incalculable aeons of stardust settling. You should be working, a whisper. ‘I was daydreaming about you,’ I say. Only the day? A solar echo. That seems restrictive. Her laughter spools out, universally intertwining light and sound, gravitational waves and electromagnetism. Every move she makes causes an affect. ‘I wish you were here,’ I say, finding myself laughing. It took so long to parse, with nothing but theory until I’d felt the physics. I reach through space to take our hand and her voice is mine, ‘Even when I’m not there—’ I’m here.
She was living in the lounge by then, just boxes, a bed, and several ways to drink wine. The emptiness of the space moulded the acoustics into something desperate; sounds lost their sharpness in the gaussian echo. The room took her words as she talked and smeared their meaning. ‘Why are you here?’ she asked. I was invited once, I told her, neither of us sure it was true. She lay down beside me and we spooned for a while, autonomously generating warmth between us. ‘Be mad,’ she told me, asking as always for something I couldn’t give her.
I push the wad of tissue up my nose and say, ‘I said pineapple.’ Laura looks at me and shrugs, putting on a coat of indifference. I watch a blood drop drying on the sheet, its vibrancy dyeing a stiff brown stain. My tongue feels dry and swollen, the wrong kind of meat in my head. I point at the water bottle and Laura hands it to me. She tells me the music was too loud, what’s the point of using safe words in unsafe conditions. It’s a coded message. I can hear the house moving through the walls.