Visual representations of groups of people doing things together became illegal after the outbreak was declared a pandemic. So, the panic widening his eyes, at the sight of the postcards she laid on her pillow, wasn’t a complete shock.
“My mating profile mentioned my peculiar tastes,” she said.“I thought ‘peculiar’ referred to the mating ritual, not criminal behavior,” he said, studying her living space. No surprise there. All single occupancy apartments, in New York, looked the same: a kitchenet, a bathroom, a bed, a refrigeration unit, and three cabinets—one for food and drinking water, one for clothing, and the biggest one for testing kits, gloves, masks, bleach, and a quick relocation bag.“Well,” she said, crossing her arms, “now you know.” When he turned towards the door, she tried to stop him. “Wait!” She hadn’t meant to shout. But his reaction had caught her by surprise. She had taken so many precautions. She spent all her rest hours at the NY Intimacy and Procreation Center, reviewing potential mates’ records. She researched him for weeks. All the signs were there.“Look, ma’am,” he tried walking around her, “I don’t want any trouble.”When he grabbed the doorknob, she decided to let him go. Until she realized that his hand was trembling. Oh, screw it, she thought, before whispering the signal in a single breath, “In a rotting world, wild souls must fight…”He didn’t turn around. He didn’t let go of the doorknob. He didn’t move at all.She stared at her relocation bag, and was so lost in trying to figure why she never planned for this outcome, that she couldn’t hear what he was saying. “What?”“I said, fight to become contagions of hope. I might’ve also said that codes in haiku also speak of peculiar tastes.” He smiled.She grinned. “It’s a senryu.”Their lovemaking was fast and delicious. It had been quite a while. When dread tears the world apart, it’s difficult to find souls to feel safe and whole with.Before parting, that day, he gave her a crowd at the beach to add to her postcard collection. She gave him a merry couple dancing in front of friends to add to his.
a gift from a friend
via Artistic Interpretations
for Margaret’s new Challenge: Artistic Interpretations - Coney Island, NY. And for Poets and Storytellers United (Weekly Scribblings #9: Contagion).