They came to the bus station. He lit a cigarette and a piece of paper remained on his lip. She instinctively reached and removed the paper, even then becoming aware that she had violated her unwritten rule of not touching. He did not startle.
But he did startle when she touched his hair for the first time, at a moment of joy. They sat on “their” table at the restaurant and he said something that made her laugh and made her forget. She leaned over and lifted her hand in order to pass her fingers through his hair. He moved away suddenly, as if expecting a blow. He caught her hand, almost dangerously close. With a shy smile he stopped her movement. It meant: you have no right to touch me in that way, not now, not here. He was right. But when she anyway did it, a moment later, to defy, he let her slowly run her fingers through his thick hair. They looked each other in the eyes.
We are close, too close, she thought then and she inhaled his breath.
She missed two buses on a rainy night because of him. They stood quietly and listened to the rain drumming on the bus stop roof. She entered the third one. The dinner waited for her. A dinner waited for him too. She brought the touch of his hand around her shoulders home. And inside her home. And into her bed. She felt it for days as an indent. As a wound.
Her husband, already sleepy, nevertheless noticed that she smelled of tobacco. Yes, imagine, some people smoked at the meeting. And, didn’t you go out? No, I sat by the open window, but the smell gets into your clothes.
At another conference she looks at his face in the first row. She is on stage, speaking. She can see him clearly, it is pale, as if lit from inside. The hall is in half darkness, but she can see him, maybe because of his blond hair. There is a smile on that face. Does he know that she looks at him? It is difficult to see it from above. But she speaks to him, she addresses him only. He must feel it.
Later, in the bar, the whole group of some twenty participants is having lunch. She follows him with her eyes, and although he is at the other end of the table. She feels his presence and every move that he makes, as if he sits next to her. When their eyes meet, her body shivers. It becomes unbearable that she sits surrounded with so many people. She stands up and goes out. She knows that he can not leave after her.
Then they are alone and have coffee. They are quiet for a long time, but they can not separate. All of a sudden they have so much time for themselves. They sit, enchanted by the closeness of the other. It is not easy for her to understand what is going on. She feels that her body has a life of its own, although her consciousness opposes it.
That evening at the hotel lobby — did she notice a moment of hesitation with him? They entered the elevator together. Alone. He stood leaning against the door, with his head tilted a bit, his eyes semi closed. She was a bit apart, quite still, almost stiff with tension. Without good-bye, they went each to their rooms. She took off her coat and her shoes. He entered after her. In the semidarkness, leaning against the room wall, she took his first kiss. Only with his lips, very gently at first, as if they were scared to hurt each other. Their bodies did not touch, not yet. Their relationship was still innocent, the withdrawal was still quite possible.
At the moment that she found herself in his arms, she felt chained to him, as if there was no place to run any more, because she wanted him.
She cried for a long time after that first night together. She was aware that her body reigned by yearning was also a traitor, the reason because of which the desire between them would disappear just as it appeared.
He came the following night too. Actually, they entered the room together. He immediately lifted her dress, even before closing the door. He was so confident, as if they had made love so many times before.
Later she tells him about her dreams where they made love since the moment they met. And how she tried to see herself with his eyes.
He laughs, looking at her. His laugh is contagious. She tells her that is quite impossible, she can not see herself the way he sees her. She can not know how much she excites him.