The Orange Room by Conor McManus

He returned from the market with

a bag of fruit, into the coolness of the room.

The room was bare except for a sky blue chair,

and a similarly hand painted wardrobe

and a bed.

On the bed a woman lay sleeping.

The chair was as he had left it,

pulled out from the wall and turned

facing the bed where he had been sitting

reading the travel guide to her.

They had talked about visiting Mount Bromo

the following morning, at sunrise.

She lay on her side with her hand

under her head completely naked.

She had fallen asleep and the book had fallen to the floor.

He was disappointed she was asleep.

But he wouldn’t wake her.

He sat on the chair and gently placed the bag

of fruit on the floor.

His mouth was dry.

He picked up the book and straightened out the pages.

He started to read, but he had no interest.

He watched her breathe.

Her hair was short and her neck bare and slender.

Her short brown hair brushed over the top of her ear.

He wanted to kiss it.

He watched her body rise and fall gently.

He wanted to put his hand between her kissing thighs.

He decided to peel an orange and maybe

she would waken, maybe the smell would waken

her, maybe the rustling of the bag would stir her.

He knew he should let her sleep but

he wanted to bury his hand in the confluence

of her body and feel its warmth.

She was right, he couldn’t just look.

He wanted to waken her.

He got up and walked to the window and

prised the orange apart into halves with his

thumbs and then peeled off a segment and ate it.

Juice dripped onto the floor as he looked

onto the street below.

Jalan Sudirman was choked up.

Tuktuks swerved and revved ceaselessly,

and the smell of hot, burnt petrol rose

to his nostrils.

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