Navigating the Latitudes

Bez lays beside me on the mattress, still asleep. It was a late night last night, and she and Juteau were up long past the point when I went to bed. I never felt her slip in with me.

She is facing me, hand curled palm-up beside her chin, the blanket riding low and covering her just below her hip. There is a tiny octopus on her skin, revealed just above the edge of the blanket, a doodle in blue ballpoint, which was not there the day before. I want to put my finger against it, but I don’t want to wake her. She has been bearing most of the weight of Juteau’s grief this week, and they both need all of the sleep that they can get.

Juteau was telling us about a trip she took once to Paris, and the boy she met in a bookshop there. She spoke Berlitz French, but he knew enough English for them to get by on. He lived in a small apartment full of cats and novels, and the bed was barely big enough for the both of them, but she stayed with him a week anyway, drinking wine and navigating the latitudes of his body by the dim light which slipped in between the curtains.

She talked last night of going back to Paris, to find the boy again and to switch off for a while, and I can’t think of a reason for her not to. No, that’s not quite true. I can think of a million reasons why she shouldn’t, but those are reasons of the head. My heart knows what she is after, and as the wall between the head and the heart is as thin as rice paper, the heart will always win out.

I think briefly about getting out of bed, but toss the idea aside. There will be time for other things later. For now I will lay here in this dimly lit room, five thousand miles from the apartments of Paris, and consider the latitudes of the body laying next to me, and almost, but not quite, trace them with my fingertip.

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