She lifts the steak out of its polystyrene bed. It is flaccid, a slice of dead animal, unlovable. She lays it in the frying pan and watches it curl against the heat, moving, a small writhing, as though something were touching it.
Unthinking, her hands wipe themselves on her pinafore and move underneath, flattening over her belly then parting, running flat-palmed down her thighs. Time was their journey would have been flatter, firmer, keener.
She thinks of bed, later. She thinks of the snap of the light switch, the slump of the mattress next to her, the wait.
She thinks of thinking, “Shall I move first?”
The “Why should I? Doesn’t he want me?”
The “Jeez, anyone would think you were Redford. You’re not.”
She tries not to think.
Later…as the lights from outside leach through the curtains, as she tries to blank out with sleep, she thinks of the lover in her head, the one who makes her thighs ache, her belly sear, her breasts hot. She thinks of the photo she’s seen, of that mouth clamped on hers, of it moving slowly down, down, until she is crying. She thinks of those eyes, fixed on hers, unblinking. She thinks of his hands, strong, gentle, moving, stroking, melting, …him mounting, his weight, his weight…
She moves her hand between her legs and does not know what she does.
The mattress slumps. Her husband rolls towards her, puts a hand out, lays it over her breasts. Does not touch, waits. Her heart is beating so fast, so fast… she was almost there.
She moves her hips towards him, pulls him over her, into her; his weight… his weight…
And mouths another name.