Stirring : A Literary Collection

Alison Daniel


When Mary laughs, she snorts. Her voice is always husky loud. She said the only thing she likes about me is the freckle on my knee. I have not got a freckle on my knee but she has forgiven me whatever flaws she sees because she is seriously happy and worn out with a libido she proudly states is boundless.

She is telling me about her love life and if that is not enough, the other day Mary went swimming, gently lapping the pool in a state of eatery anticipation, relaxed enough to savor and ogle her lover washing the dinner dishes.

She muttered something about perfect foreplay as she flexed her body into a sleek cat's back as if she contained within her all the mystical secrets related to extensive yoga experiences like the time she spent at a retreat twisting herself on the meditation mat of her dreams until, straightening herself out, she woke up to fall in love with something other than cigarettes and kalamata olives, something other than to simply exist in the saffron colored rice in the begging bowl of her sad single life.

She will not tell me her lover's name so I have called him Cosmic Dude, after the mythical soap I did not buy in the shop I did not enter. I want to know if he comes with a rope in the steamy shower of wet S and M sex. Maybe this question is a result of Mary buying silk scarves, crimson red ones that contrast with the unruliness of her knotted hair.

I ask if he smells of sandalwood and Mary said he smells only of her. Inhaling deeply, her nostrils twitch then expand to welcome the scent of her dude diving into her nasal hair, sinking beneath her mucous membranes to furiously swim from the capillaries of her nose all the way to what is left of her brain.

She cannot stop thinking of him and now, at work I witness Mary telling helpless old men and women with fractured femurs, or worse, incapacitating spinal injuries, anyone that cannot move, walk away, run, cover their head with a pillow or throw a jug of water on her, about her and Cosmic Dude's sexual habits and proclivities.

Patients are trying to concentrate, or not concentrate, whatever the case may be, on that final expiration of breath before leaving this world for the next, and there is Mary telling them what happened before, during and next. How she is absolutely shagged out but wanting, wanting, always wanting more, and, while she is laying out dead bodies, she describes in intimate detail, the sensation of Cosmic Dude's buttocks, how smooth and firm they are beneath her massaging hands, and then, she forcefully attempts to reopen firmly shut eyes, asking them to witness the freshness of her skin. Look, he pinched me here, and see that tiny bit of skin missing, that faint red scratch as if the indications of her persistent sexual arousal, as if what she did with Cosmic Dude this morning while others were drinking bitter coffee at home or trying to die in a hospital bed should concern the cosmos perhaps is an option preferable to the near witnessing of what actually occurred.

Cosmic Dude sounds too good to be true. I feel there is no hope for Mary. I ask her to consider his flaws, his unnecessary habits, his lack of perfection, his unruly past, to talk with Hayley who has proven herself as a woman who stands out from the crowd as evidenced by her ability to choose a partner by the sheer force, the overwhelming determination to celebrate an unusual party trick in the party of her married life.

There is room to doubt her absolute dedication to love. Like Mary, Hayley is a committed insomniac having been unable to sleep since her wedding night three months ago. However, there is no Cosmic Dude in Hayley's life. Instead, she makes love with her husband as her husband regurgitates food via his nostrils, sometimes leaving last night's tea on the pillow case. She is not worried about the risk of him or her aspirating cold leftovers when next to her, on top of her, under her, 69ing her, in every orifice of her, the hot body of her man turns her on like the scratch and sniff page of a new age romance.

Being concerned for Hayley's bed linen, after all it was a gift, I inquire as to whether she will consider other options, perhaps the use of disposable pillow cases but she shakes her head, refusing to entertain any possibility that may be hazardous to the universal environment nor, and more importantly, somehow conceal the experience of marital bliss. Perhaps this is an indication of the permanent arrangement of her love, a consideration of her commitment to her husband, perhaps even something Mary could learn from.

With this in mind, I ask Mary about pillow cases. She has no time for my questions, my need to be educated, to understand nurses who love too much. All she does is sigh, then deeply inhale last night with Cosmic Dude as if the wisdom of the sleep deprived enhances appetite.

Location: Reading, England
Publications: Stirring V2:E10 V2:E11, etc.

Stirring : A Literary Collection

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