The morning after

Until now, he’d never stayed for long after the first fuck. Always at their place: this avoided the awkward negotiation of asking them to leave, and had the added advantage of minimising the likelihood of a future encounter, of one day answering the door to a hard-lipped accusation (or worse, a fragile, clinging request for more).

They didn’t always mind. It had surprised him at first, this realisation that women’s desires too could be so transient, in the same way that years earlier he had discovered that the girls who placed a hand on his knee in the cinema were not unusually sexual, that their held-breath urges could be found, with careful exploration, somewhere beneath every surface.

Others would not ask him to go of their own accord, and his attempts to leave quietly, unblamed, would be unsuccessful. They would watch him, horizontal and mournful and hollow, or sit up, breasts uncovered or covered in redundant modesty. He would only speak if spoken to, so he rarely spoke.

This time, however, had been different. This time, for reasons he had yet to analyse, he had not risen from the muss of sheets and begun looking for his clothes. Instead he had stayed, and slept, and in the morning enjoyed a lazy, familiar reprise. Was this contentment?

Yes, he decided, pulling on the sock he’d found draped over the bedside lamp (always the most perilous part of lustful undressing: one wrong move and you’re just a nearly-naked man in socks, with an erection bobbing crane-like around your waist). Sex for a second time with a woman certainly had its benefits.

He should do it more often.

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