Sunday, November 18, 2012


(written december 7, 2007)
The sounds of city life bounced around inside her head as she moved down the busy street. She drew her chin to her neck, nestling into her scarf to fight the wind as it bit at her bare skin. Around her, snow whispered its metamorphosis from white to black, beneath the tired tracks of taxicabs. Weathered men and women sat huddled in between buildings and at doorframes clambering to the feeble hopes that someone, maybe even Nathalie, would ease their pain. But still she walked on.

She soon came to the large brick building she had been seeking. For a brief moment, she took in its looming physique, admiring the icicles that hung off its window ledges like sharp, frozen tears. Freeing a gloved hand from her right jacket pocket, Nathalie buzzed up to 36C like she so frequently would.

After a moment, a scratchy mumbling could be heard from the speaker beside the buzzer. The door clicked as it unlocked, and Nathalie let herself in. The stairs in the old building creaked as she moved up them, fingers trailing lightly along the railing as she ascended.

Three flights later, doorknob met fingers and there she was, breathless but triumphant. Warmth enveloped her as she entered the apartment. Her eyes skipped across the room, from the old suede sofa to the armchair it coupled to the cluttered coffee table between the two. Books were scattered across every surface and the stale air smelled like coffee. Nathalie found her voice.

“Bon soir,” she said. “Hello?”

Yet there was only stillness.

The lines across her forehead deepened as she turned to shed her coat. But before she could realize it, fingers not her own forcefully entwined themselves in her dark hair and stole place around her waist, and Nathalie found herself peering up into dark, cerulean eyes. There was no hesitation now, as there never had been. Her mouth found his as his shirt found the floor. In moments, the old books would share their homes with the fallen garments. They sat patiently.

When it was done, Nathalie settled up against the edge of the sofa. She twisted her body uncomfortably for a minute then pulled something bound in vinyl out from beneath her lower back.

"Oh, Christ,” she muttered, struggling to hold the book and get to her feet. Lachlan shoved a stack of papers to retrieve his boxers. He paused to glance at Nathalie.

“What?” he asked, giving the boxers one last tug. They were free.

“Huck Finn.”

“Oh man.”

“I feel bad.. you know, it’s the great American novel.”

“He doesn’t mind. Most action he’s gotten in what, 120 years?”

“Oh stop it.” Nathalie gently placed the novel back on the sofa before adding, “Are you hungry?”

Lachlan shrugged, now fully clothed. It was classic Lachlan, Nathalie thought, carefully observing his nonchalance, in both attitude and attire. He wore frayed, color-stained jeans and an old Motley Crue t-shirt. Dried paint concealed the true skin tone of his hands. Black– now sweat-soaked – tendrils fell haphazardly atop his head and over his eyes - evidence that his hair hadn’t been cut in months.

Yet there was something she couldn’t quite put her finger on. He was captivating as he crossed the room back to where Nathalie was sitting, still naked. His lips discovered the cavernous area between her neck and her collarbone and traveled upwards. She craned her neck as his mouth danced across her skin. Unable to control herself, she placed one hand against his chest and urged him backwards, away from her. Once again, Nathalie’s eyes locked on his and she labored to sit upright.

“I love you.”

Lachlan ran a tarnished hand through his mottled hair, looking momentarily pensive. He gave a little laugh before bending down to kiss Nathalie on her worried brow. Wind whistled against the dirty glass window.

“Then show me,” he said with a chuckle. And outside the snow stormed on.


(written march 6, 2009)
She had met him on the monkey bars twelve long years ago.

With knobby knees and knotted hair, Nathalie had patiently waited her turn while Tibby Upstyle glided from one side to the other at least ten times. When Tibby had finally begun to whine about the blisters forming on her fingers, Nathalie had clambered to the stoop beside the first bar and started to cross.

Four bars in, and she could remember this distinctly, her hand reached forward and caught warm skin where cool metal should have been. Intinctively she gasped and released, and in effect, lost her balance. The playground woodchips sought shelter beneath her clothes. Shocked and furious, embarrassed and incredulous, Nathalie glared upwards to where she had just been.

And there he was, still hanging - dark, untidy hair falling into the dirt-smudged forehead above those blue, blue eyes.

Immediately, her rage dissipated and was replaced by something unfamiliar. Her heart rattled against her ribcage, and she could feel all her blood rushing to her ears. Her vision blurred as she rolled onto her stomach to escape his piercing gaze.

Like a wild animal, she had thought, free and wild and beautiful.

She twisted around to look at the boy - still immobile - and her stomach wrenched. She thought she might vomit.

Then she did.

Without warning, he was there, holding her tangled hair in his gentle hands, guiding her away from the mess she had made. He touched her chin and tilted it so she faced him once more. Nathalie's heart pounded in her throat.

"Don't worry," he said sternly, "I'm a doctor."

They both laughed, and she had loved him ever since.


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