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Avital Gad-Cykman

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 web.

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