Sunday, September 02, 2012

Across the Page

My neighbours make love maybe one out of every two or three weekends; Saturday night, sometimes Sunday morning. I listen and I draw them in that moment behind my bedroom wall with my pencil. She is on top and her hair sprawls wildly across the page. Her teeth draw blood from her bottom lip. That face, he cups her breasts, mashing and pinching with his large hands.

I see her on the lift most mornings, we say hello and I see him at the mailboxes. I draw them in those moments, too, later, from memory. I sketch her hair, long and straight, and the run that stretches down the calf of her stockings. Her wide smile, the lipstick on her teeth. Him, fumbling his keys, struggling to manipulate the tiny mailbox lock. I start with his face, centred on the page. It lacks the symmetry of hers. His forehead, his mouth, contort with frustration and a hint of sadness in that instant before he notices me. We talk about football, about cricket.

I draw them eating, also, together at a local restaurant. I haven't seen them there, but I imagine him ordering pizza with bacon on it, and her spinach lasagne with a shared garlic bread; it's Italian. His thick fingers clutch a grease-stained serviette, they cover his mouth completely. His eyes, shifted left, glance at the waitress. She kisses a glass of red, head back, eyes not fixed on anything. I part her hair down the middle, and with my pencil I caress the fingers on her spare hand as they stir the ice in his water glass.

Lately I have been drawing them alone more frequently. He runs. His tight fists punch the air and beads of sweat drip down his face like big fat tears. His mouth hangs wide open. She sits at a desk, in her pyjamas, writing letters longhand. A stray hair falls onto her sleeve. Her lips, naked, shade themselves red; the only colour besides grey on my page.

One day I will invite them to my apartment to view my collection of them. They will laugh at first, hold hands, kiss, they will point. Then slowly they will understand and I will be ready with my pencil and my paper. This will be my final drawing.


  1. i always enjoy your stories; this one gets me doing a peace sign with one hand and a thumbs up motion with the other.

  2. Thanks Dick Robots. If you tilt the thumbs up (now it is a thumbs sideways) and bring it through the peace sign that is actually the international signal for "I like the cut of your trousers"


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