Who are you?
'All foreign languages are sexy,' said Oded, after the film when they sat round a crate on the floor drinking tea out of mugs with animal handles, the three of them divided by only one or two feet of air. They had biscuits with Nutella. Oded was trying not to eat; he felt fat, although he did not say this then, in front of his lover, Ben, who was slender with a v-shaped torso and fine hands.
When Oded undressed, Sarah saw his body for the first time. Hair fanned from his collar-bone like radiator fins; the skin was white.
They lay on the bed. It was 1.30am. Overhead light bathed the room, unnatural for the hour. Ben was on his side, hands folded paw-like before his face. Sarah lay opposite, but Ben was really sleeping and she was not. He moaned, she opened her eyes. She wanted to stay - to sleep with them inside the lemon bed.
In the cinema, Oded had held her hand. He took it three-quarters of the way through the film, possibly out of kindness.
'Who are you?' he said, sitting on the edge of the bed.
'I don’t know... I am always changing,' she replied.
Sarah felt afraid because she could not be the person Oded had met and liked. She wanted him to like her - it was very important - but his question made her feel as if she was no longer there, or at least not in any recognizable form.
(First published by Normblog, 2006)
She learns philosophy in Hebrew
white fluorescent room there were biscuits on a small table in the corner,
except it wasn't really a room it was a corner-made-space, where coats might
hang, and there must have been fifteen of us in there, drinking mint tea from
paper cups, squashed in.
up over the beautiful Russian girlfriend of the boy with the black tangled
curls. She had transluscent skin and blue eyes, with ash hair pulled back in a
Chinese bun. When she spoke I looked down into her eyes. I felt the fluorescent
light would make me worn; she was alabaster.
She told me
that learning made her young. She was studying philosophy at the university;
she wanted to learn a new language as well - Spanish, perhaps.
class when we heard the bells she sat, upright back, breasts small. Her profile
was smooth; the line of her nose made me stop and look, it was a perfect curve
as she heard. Next to her, the boy with the matt-black curls rounded his back,
ducked his head, and seemed thin. He did not wear comfortable clothes.
from Russia. She came here when she was six. She learned philosophy in Hebrew, spoke Russian at home.
I thought about their children: would they bear her cautious
grace or take his ill-fitting, southern skin?