Pavlova (her)

 

I dug my teeth into its flesh. Juice flooded my mouth. Sweet, sour. It dripped from the corners of my lips onto the white sheet. A red stain on the cloth. Strawberry!

I opened my eyes, longingly. You pulled me next to you. Greedily sucking my breath. “What d’you think? Let’s take a walk!” “Let’s get some strawberries!” I replied, and my lip twitched with desire. You laughed. Gave a push to the wooden shutters and glowed into the light. Sunshine stilled the room. Burnt my eyes, tingled my naked back. I pressed my head on the pillow. “With whipped cream. Well now, there and there”. You tickled me, gently biting my buttocks. “Yes, lots of cream … but … what day is it?” I sat on the bed. Saturday, Sunday, Monday? You shrugged, indifferently. Strode over discarded clothes on the floor, turned-on the cellphone you had left in the living room. “Its Sunday”, I heard you shouting from the next room. “It’s almost noon.” You hastily turned-off the cellphone again. “I’ll have you only for myself,” you had said, while pulling the main phone out of the wall socket.

“There’s nothing left in the fridge” I heard you say. “Nothing, since yesterday,” I added, laughing. I buttoned my pants. Hands, legs, sluggish, clumsy. Tired, uncoordinated movements. You stood at the door and threw a tight t-shirt. You dressed slowly, in silence. “Shall we go?”

You took my arms, crossed them behind your back. You took them in your hand and I, with heavy steps, dragging my feet on the sidewalk, abandoned myself to you leading me down to the square. A long, endless road. I stood under the tree branches. Purple flowers, blooming. Stirring in the May wind. Falling on my shoulders, my hair. You squeezed my hands against your waist. A tight grip, tied with a mighty knot. Just as the night before, lying locked on the bed.

“With syrup,” I whispered in your ear. “Just dripping on the whipped cream,” you pressed me to your chest, tenderly. “Come.”

All stores were closed. The square almost empty. A bunch of children. An old guy. Nothing. “What now?” I mumbled with disappointment. But you would not give up so easily. “The kiosk will be open.” Cream, syrup, yes. But, strawberries? “Strawberries?” you raised your eyebrows in frustration.

We sat on the bench. You, lying across my knees. “We could get a strawberry yogurt you know.” your eyes lit up. I sulked. “It’s not the same.” “No … but …” You sighed.

Suddenly, you jumped up. “Get up,” you yelled and grabbed my hand. Dragging me behind you. I stumbled. Tripped over my feet. We crossed a street and then another. Turned left. “Hurry up, hurry!” I struggled, trying to synchronize my steps, to catch up. You were gasping for breath, but you didn’t stop for a second, didn’t linger. We arrived there just as if we were being hunted down. Exhausted, with red hot cheeks. Anxious faces. If only there is one!

“A Pavlova!” you shouted just as you pushed me into the pastry shop. Everybody turned and looked coldly at us. A long queue, and the stern shopkeeper. Thinking. How dare you? In our pastry shop. Sweets in a refrigerated display. Chocolates like gold chains, marzipans like diamonds and those incredible cakes… But right next to them, at the far end of the fridge, one last, delicious Pavlova. Meringue and cream. Strawberries, sprinkled with syrup. One more customer and it will be ours. My mouth flooded with syrup. Tasted the whipped cream. I gasped, aching for a bite.

“A Pavlova please,” the customer ahead of us said with indifference. “You are very lucky sir. There’s only one left,” replied the shopkeeper typically, avoiding my frigid stare. The fat guy smiled with satisfaction. He took out his wallet and paid for the sweet. He opened the door and disappeared in the street.

“Well now? What will you have?” the shopkeeper turned and asked with feigned innocence. You were taken aback. Looked at me, and then back at him. Stuck. You searched for my gaze, in despair. Oh, if only I had just one bite. You opened your mouth, but no words came out.
You leaped towards the door and ran out. As fast as your feet could carry you, using all the strength left from the last few days. I too went out to look for you but you were nowhere to be seen. Was it possible that you had disappeared into the whipped cream? Slipped on the syrup? Trapped under the strawberries?

“Come,” you said wearily, appearing behind me. You were dripping wet and your breath came in short gasps. What a shame, I thought.

“Let’s go home to eat it!” triumphantly You took out the package that you kept hidden and I just fell on you, swept around you.

We placed it on the kitchen table. We took out the spoons and I kissed you once again. “Not here, you said,” and you snatched it. I followed you to the bedroom. “Here.” On the sheets. I scooped a spoonful, digging the spoon in as far up as the handle. I opened my lips and shuddered with bliss. Sweet, sour taste in my mouth. Syrup in my veins. Whipped cream over my chin, my nose. My pulse, my breath, cascading.

Flooded with strawberries.

Flooded with you.

 

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