Memories of Ligea, (excerpt 2)

Climbing the stairs in the dorm, his bike hooked over his shoulder, may have been harder than any part of the ride. His legs felt like warm crayons and each step required concentration. He struggled up to the third floor banging the bike sharply on the handrail on the way up. Bright metallic sparks of sound echoed through the stairwell, swirling below Tomas’ feet. He rolled the bike down the hall to her room, the last one on the left, and knocked. Melanie’s eyes — blue suns in halos of red – looked up under swollen lids. Tomas heard voices inside. Melanie slipped through the partially open door.

“Pete’s here.” She took his hand. “Let’s go in the Community room.”

Tomas let the ideas of Pete and Melanie’s phone call roll over and over in his head for a moment. Melanie started to pull away. Quickly Tomas slipped his bike off his shoulder and propped it against the wall.

“You can leave your bike here.” Melanie said to the empty hall ahead of them. She took his hand and led him quickly down the hall, through a door marked “Community Room.”

“What’s wrong?” Tomas said as she flipped the light switch.

“Nothing now,” she said and pulled him to her, her arms tight around his waist. They kissed and he tasted tears on her lips. Salty and good and warm like an ocean. Her hand moved up to his neck and grateful fingers raked through his hair.

“Don’t stop holding me. Don’t stop… please,” she said as she buried her face into his shoulder.

They made love that night in the Community room. Neither caring that someone might walk in at any moment. As her body released his, her arms clutched him harder —  sobs coming from deep within her. They made love two more times that night, on the sofa in the community room with the lights off, before she finally stopped crying and her breath came calm and sweetly against his chest.

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