Piece by Piece
She finished the apple and dumped her humid
bikini in the sink, ready to step into the shower when the bell
rang. She caught her breath, stepped to the closet, took a dry
bikini and put it on. She considered the beach dress, but instead,
wore a large blouse and left it half unbuttoned.
He smiled from the door like a man she’d have
thought of as a lovely uncle-type had she been younger. He must have
had a curly black hair, not unlike her poodle’s, in his youth, but
now the hair around his baldness had gone gray. His eyes were young,
the color of milk-coffee.
“I’ve just got back from the beach,” she said.
“I see,” he said, and she saw that he was
seeing the hint of her naked body through the blouse.
He’d just shaved his wide dark cheeks, his
strong chin. She recognized the aftershave lotion she used to buy at
the duty free for an old boy friend. She hadn’t smelled that spicy
masculine aroma in a long time. Perhaps he was old-fashioned, a
nicer terminology than “conservative”. But he could have known the
effect of nostalgia on her senses, since he was good at guessing. He
had once told her that she must have been an only child. He came
from a family of five. He said he used to be lonely, too.
She stepped backwards, locked in the chain of
his gaze, his confident stride and the talk of an old friend. All he
offered was an orange, his garden’s fruit.
Avital Gad-Cykman lives and writes in
Brazil. Her work has appeared in magazines and story collections in
the US, Canada, England, Australia and New Zealand as well as on the