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Sleeping Pills and diatribes.
Short stories about drugs, monsters, serial killers, and poetry about fear and self loathing.
The Soldiers Wife
I met Clarice about three years ago. Originally we just knew each other from parties, gigs, things like that. Her and her husband fast became part of my social circle. They were only married and living together still for financial reasons, as well as being close still, but more like brother and sister than a couple. They had been childhood sweethearts, her and Tom. But they were over that, since as they spent time as adults, they realised they were growing into rather different people. Tom was off to the army, following his family history. I thought he was both brave and a fool for this. But Clarice, well she wanted adventure. Freedom. Living the bohemian lifestyle. I had met both of them seperately that night. I had no clue they were together, or not together, depending on your view. I remember when I found out the next day nervously chainsmoking and drinking coffee at my friends house while he had a good laugh at my expense, before letting me in on the joke. Nerves earned mind, since I had ended up kissing her when we said goodnight. Not just a friendly kiss either, full on, with tongue and leaving with her number and a little doodle on a scrap of paper tucked in the breast pocket of my leather jacket. Still, it was all fine as far as either of them were concerned. Seperate rooms in their house, so nothing to fear. Still, out of habit I kept it secret for a while. Clarice was ok with that. Just dating in secret, taking quiet days out together in the city. The scent of her, patchouli oil, lemons and russian cigarettes sharp and rounded, sensory armour against the tang of autumn growing in the air. We really only stuck to days out, walking in the park, coffee at cafes too out of the way and old fashioned to be trendy. Midnight showings of art films at an independent cinema. Quirky, atypical romance. That's what it was growing into, not just my precocious crush on the older woman. I continued to hang out with them both as friends, never betraying the secret of our trysts with my mannerisms. Such brilliant wild days. Laughing and falling, drinking cheap red wine and smoking heady, woodsy tasting ganja. Those times with our friends are precious.

That winter was bitter cold, with biting winds, blizzards hammering relentlessly at the windows. My room, cold as a tomb when I didn't have my little heater running. But it had it's warming balms too. That first night with her. Tom had gone off to train at his parent's estate and Clarice didn't feel like being alone and I was too embarrassed of my dwellings. So we pooled a little money, took a hotel room together. We had been out, openly walking arm in arm, thick woolen coats protecting us both from the swirling snow. Calmed for a while that day, when we were walking through the streets, ecstastic, young and alive. But on our way home from a bar we liked, oh how it turned. Unyielding blasts of snow assailed us, forcing us to walk briskly. I let her shelter against me, her arms softly, securely gripping me to her. When we got back, we spilled into the room with gratitude. I was grateful for the rush of blood to my cheeks, for when she asked me to join her in the bath I was taken aback, though I knew it was coming. She smiled as she helped to pull off my jumper and shirt, before undoing her blouse. The assymetrical black bob of hair she cultivated, contrasting beautifully with her alabaster white skin. Her delicate looking build proved to be lithe against my body, mounting me in the shower, legs locking around my hips, hungry wet tongue and lips clamping against mine to silence any doubts.
We started to make a habit of it, though I finally relented in my edicts against her seeing my meager halls of residence room. She smiled at the clutter of my restless young life, the wash basket half full of laundry, the narrow single bed that just fit the two of us right, the not too comfy easy chair at my desk where I spent the hours of study and where the two of us sat, he nestled in my lap to watch cartoons that made us laugh and share tentative glances, unspoken plans to dress as the romantically involved main characters the next Halloween.
The surface life continued, though Tom was more restricted now, unable to smoke weed or partake in any other activity than to drink, copiously. He had little trouble in that regard, save that it took him a horrific amount to become intoxicated. The cycle of lectures, love and lust, laughter and laying alone in that unadorned white cell I called home, the busy road outside bustling with life.
Summer came a calling soon, Necessitating a change of address for myself, and a travel down to boot camp for Tom. That last night we had to send him off was gloriously, extreme, beginning in truth with breakfast guinness and ending only when I had to return home to pass out. My new room was larger, but still relatively sparse and empty, not without it's faults though I had not seen them. I fell asleep deeply, waking up only later to find Clarice there. She wanted to see the new place and I felt only too glad to oblige her, though I was in no state for a roll in the hay. We slept soon after that, nestled together in the darkness, emerging occasionally to top up a glass of fruit juice.
The relationship entered a new phase, letting ourselves be known to confidants. My best friend, two of her old female friends. I had met them that day in the public library, sat in the empty childrens section, a little fake cave made of bookshelves, a display of Dr. Seuss characters above me. I was not truly in the mood for them, greeting the group with my middle fingers pointed upwards plainly. I was chastised for that later, but it was worth it.
The world however, took a fierce turn again that winter. Poor, friendly doomed Tom, who considered me like a brother. We were going to tell him, let him feel more relaxed. Killed on deployment.
Clarice was a mess that night. When I got to her, and believe me, she was barely capable of receiving any visitors. The phone was unplugged, computer off, mobile phone off. Sobbing endlessly but softly in her bed.
"It hurts you know." She said "Just because I wasn't in love with him anymore doesn't mean I didn't love him. " Those words stuck with me. I took her in my arms, let her rest her head in the crook of my neck, tears rolling down my chest. Eventually she smiled and sat up. Took the cup of tea I made her shakily.
That's as much as I care to remember for now. All the memories are vivid, but like all the others they are fading. I think I could still have been happy with her, my Clarice as she became. If only that was the life I got to wake up to. Sadly, these parallels are only fleeting.

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