Slant

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He sits in his seat, the Indian food sitting wackily and heavily on the top of his stomach, the bladder inflated by the masala chai and the morning coffee still not out of his system. His anus is inflamed. This isn’t nervousness. This is hemorrhoids. This is the shit of past days catching up with him, this is the hours he spent ignoring his bowel movements and their discordance, preferring the stoned writing of books. He sits in his seat and he feels as if he shat himself, but it’s only the phantom limb feeling of a very real and present bruised anus. He closes his eyes. Bowel movements play the wonderful secrets of the body. In amazement he ponders the perplexing amount of time took human beings to dissect and find the wind instruments in our body. Latency of dissection as latent as a deferred shit.

The professor speaks. There is no causal relationship.

The professor speaks. His neck is red from the slim-fit shirt he has tied up to the last button, pressing on his neck which is inflated from a failing thyroid gland. The professor scans the room. There are no windows, only the eyes of the students staring back at him, or looking at coffee cups, open books and copybooks, only one pair of eyes is closed and they’re as good as a window. A professor who prefers to stare out of windows, or if he could, to close his own eyes.

In front of him, shoulder-length black hair adorning the forehead with bangs under which eyes flicker, not flirtatiously, but in a scanning blinking way. Outside, the night is spreading its sheets, but that doesn’t matter; a street light shines brightly. She thinks simultaneously of the before and after which encapsulate the class, and she doesn’t know if its guilt or excitement that is making her flicker.

Before: in bed with her lover whom she loves and loves to live with, and hold tight in chilly nights and share with him the heavy breath of night, fermenting in the air in the dark hours only to be brushed away at the sound of an alarm with a morning fuck and a dry-slowly-dampening kiss. And coffee. And tea. And morning breakfast and co-cooked dinners and films of the sleazy kind, the B-movie kind, the sci-fi, and the car crash-riddled action movies. And forgiveness and affection; and an identity dressing her body with the comfort of olive oil over water. But she blinks.

After: She’ll get on the subway, pretend to read as she ponders and imagines her the sound of her pointy knuckles on the door. Footsteps, soft slipper tapings respond to the knock, opening the door calmly, her hands flash out, extend not around the neck but around the hips, pushing the strangely familiar body back inside and unbuckling the high waist jeans, its color fading and resembling a blue-tinted snow-flaked TV screen. Her foot closes the door.

She blinks before her lover with which she tragically dramatizes her life and after the seasoned body with which she comically dramatizes her life. A tragicomic need for the legitimacy of intimacy by way of its very negation through an oedipal affair.

He doesn’t know shit. She sways to the serpentine song of infidelity. And neither is at fault.

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