Bez is laying on my sofa in a thin yellow dress, the buttons undone from the top and down to a dangerously revealing level. There is a fleck of sky blue paint which nests inside the hollow of her throat, something she’s picked up from the painting she was working on this afternoon before coming to see me, I assume. I haven’t seen her in almost two weeks, and I have been missing her more than I had realized until she came through my door.

“How are you feeling right this second?” she asks. She folds one arm under her breasts and allows the other the drape off the sofa and onto the floor.

“Tired,” I say. “Foggy. Ghostly.”

“Your boyfriend not letting you get any rest?”

“Boyfriend? Nikola isn’t my boyfriend.”

“Seriously, Turtle,” she says, using her nickname for me, which I haven’t heard from her in a long time. “I’d say that you two are definitely dating by now.”

“There’s a difference between dating someone and calling him a boyfriend. I’ve slept with you more than I’ve slept with him.”

“Yes, but we’ve never had sex,” she points out.

“Well, neither have Nikola and I.”

She sits up on the sofa and crosses her legs beneath her. “Are you serious? Not even once?”

“Don’t judge,” I say.

“I’m not judging. I’m just stunned. That’s one serious sexy piece of Serbian man-meat you’ve got there. I’d have been on him five minutes after he walked through the front door.”

“I don’t know what it is. I’m not feeling myself these days.”

“Apparently,” she says.

“I’m serious. I haven’t eaten anything but junk food the past few weeks. I don’t leave the house unless I have to, and I haven’t been motivated to get anything accomplished, anything at all.”

“You still shower, don’t you?”

“Of course I do.”

“Then I think you’re going to live,” she says. “Although you’d live better if you’d just sleep with Nikola.”

“I don’t want to,” I say, realizing it’s the truth as the words come out of my mouth. “I’m not ready. I need more time.”

“It’s not a race, Turtle,” she says. She takes a box of tissue from the table beside the sofa and hands it to me. “Here. You’re about to start crying.”

“I’m not going to cry,” I say, and then of course I immediately begin to. Bez takes my elbow and makes me lay on the sofa beside her, with my head in her lap. She strokes my hair and doesn’t say anything for a few minutes, until I am done making a fool of myself. I don’t get up though, but stay where I am, enjoying the nearness of her.

“You’re very complicated,” she says. “Do you know that?”

“I don’t feel complicated.”

“Your complications have complications, that’s how complicated you are.”

“You’re job is to not point these things out to me,” I say.

“My job,” she says, “is to make sure that you’re happy.”

“So that makes you my girlfriend then? Only we don’t have sex?”

“You don’t have sex with your boyfriend, either,” she says. “Sounds like I meet your requirements.”

“Bez,” I say.


“You have paint on you.”

“I always have paint on me.”

“Would you spend the night here tonight?”

“Only if you don’t try to have sex with me.”

“No promises,” I say.

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  1. I was beginning to despair of news regarding Nikola. And you, of course.

    • Kameko

       /  February 19, 2012

      Do not despair, for I have gone nowhere. I haven’t been feeling very productive recently is all–no, that’s not correct. I’ve been feeling like producing things, but without any motivation to actually do the work.

      I’m sure it’s a phase.

      Aren’t all things, really?


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