The yellow haze of the overhead lights leaves the room bathed in a sickening dim. Your eyes blink, lashes wet. It’s an adjustment from the searing bright, the spotlight from hours before. It was warm like the morning sun. It was too bright and bold. It rose too early. It still crawls like fire across the back of your eyelids. You inhale, it radiates across your temples.
Your damp palms rub the worn edges of your jacket. Tremors dance across the pulsing veins that spider into your knuckles. The roaring crowd still pops behind your ears, screaming, chanting, and rushing. It deafens like a summer thunderstorm.
You back into the queen sized mattress. Your knees buckle. You sink down onto the edge of the bed. The hotel room is elegant, but not nearly what you’re used to. The frigid smell of the window AC surges through your flared nostrils. It chills the back of your throat. Your nails dig at the dried sweat caked on your high cheekbones.
The tip of your pointer finger traces your jawline. You roll your shoulders back. You inhale a fogging exhaustion. It rolls dense, deep, and churns with a desperate longing. You slip the suit jacket from your shoulders. It crumples atop the comforter. A raking itch slithers across the tip of your tongue. You gnaw at its edges.
Three, full-fisted knocks rattled the thin door. The copper swirls in your mouth, and under your tongue.
You are expecting her.
The urgency shoots anticipation, hot through your stomach, like an electrical arc, surging, and charring the edges.
The metal lock clicks back like a second hand. You press the handle down. The door swings open.
She stands before you. Her slender figure leans against the doorframe. Her auburn hair drapes down to the small of her back. Her pale skin floats through her bold blue dress, like wispy clouds floating through a fine wind. He feet shuffle in the doorway. Her right foot glides down her left ankle.
It has been four months since her last text. You knew that changed nothing.
You reach out. You grab her velvet fingers, sliding her palm into the full of your hand. You pull her through the doorway. Your lips meet hers, desperate, bruising, sucking the air from her lungs. You inhale the bitter citrus, lacing her sparkling skin. Her fingers connect with the back of your neck.
You spin her. You guide her towards the bathroom door. The mirror is still dripping in steam, the water still warm. You had drawn a bath after your engagement. You had waited.
Her dress drops, striking like lightning against the grey, cloudy tiles. Her body sighs with chills. She sinks deep into the water, floating and pressed into your trembling hands. Her cat-like moan croons a forgotten prayer.
You slipped your palm from her navel up to her chest. Your fingers strike and constrict. Her glossy mouth divides. Her eyes blow open in the shape of stars. Her red manicured nails dig and scrape the war down your exposed arms. The water glides slick, like shards of glass across her ceramic face.
Your grip unwinds like the roar of the crowd. The indent of your fingers is left dark, and bruised. She is sinking and exposed. Your copper mouth is dry with cotton. The itch has rubbed raw.
You double over, nails clawing into your knees. You sit down, slowly, on the wet tiles, slick from thrashing.
You lean back against the cool porcelain tub. You grab her crumpled blue dress, and sponge the blood from the deep claw marks searing across your forearm.
The scabs will heal, again.