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tread of nimble feet

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He's bouncing around the apartment again. Bored and restless and full of life. So different from the scruffy stranger you carried home, the one who had had even fewer manners than the man before you now and barely remembered how to speak properly. His eyes are filled with the thunder outside as he goes through the short list of things he could do this afternoon, absently opening and closing the kitchen drawers while he speaks. You find that the morning has slowly trickled by since you made your futile trip to Koh's, so the two of you have no obligations and the rain has kept you inside.

You tap your last cigarette out of your pack, noting that you'll need to run down to the convenience store for more at some point, and that should kill a half hour of your time. He's still flailing as he paces the small apartment, randomly going through cupboards and picking up the few possessions scattered around. His mouth is moving rapidly and he's ranting about something, but you just let his voice wash past you, focusing on his lips.

His face is so expressive, sometimes you have to look away because you are ashamed on his behalf. He's incapable of hiding his emotions, not from you. His anger shields him from most of the world, but you have known him too long and too intimately to be fooled. There's something eating away at him today, something making his eyes a little wider, brighter, more desperate to escape.

a bedraggled kitten on the asphalt

You wonder what he'll do next, tracking his movements from your position on the recliner. He gets like this sometimes, especially on rainy days like to today. He'll complain loudly, cursing Koh for not having any jobs available or yourself for only having curry in the fridge. He'll frown at the TV and snarl at the patio doors, wearing a path in the carpet that does little to alleviate his boredom.

Sometimes, you wonder what it's like to have lost your past. To have not forgotten it on purpose. He didn't set it aside in a little box, cutting away at all the messy strings of memory until he only has a stark list of places and people he once knew. No, his memories were taken from him, and there are moments when you find yourself opening your mouth to ask him- Just ask him anything, like how he can slip so easily into your life-- but you don't. You stop yourself because you're not sure you want to know the answers.

The pacing deteriorates to a few half-hearted steps, then he flops in front of the TV. You're surprised when he settles down long enough to play a video game, tongue caught firmly between his teeth as he sways in sync with the character on the screen. His eyebrows crawl higher and higher as he tries to get the little warrior on to the next level. You're tempted to go over and join him, but you find yourself oddly frozen. Paralyzed with an unlit cigarette dangling from your lips, too inert to go outside to light it.

Time with him is precious. You know this. You feel the day of your death drawing ever closer, but you still go through all the motions of living. Part of you wants to kill them off, slowly, these emotions that make you curl around him in the dark of night. That make you ruffle his hair, or take his hand. You want to deaden the tightness in your chest that's suffocating you when he leans his head against your shoulder.

Casual touches that imply so much trust. Trust you never thought you would earn when you first brought him home. But that was part of the challenge, the temptation of something new, something undiscovered. His unpredictability is part of what keeps you next to him. His moods change like the weather, his memory stays hidden, but still. Still he keeps fighting, and struggling, and breathing, pushing through this mortal world as though there was something more in it than just awaiting death and decay.

The cigarette drops to your lap unnoticed as you watch the play of muscles across his shoulders. The way the tendons of his arms stand out under his skin as he mashes the controller buttons. He isn't doing very well, but he still howls in protest when you come to kneel behind him and pluck the controller out of his grasp. He puts up a token fight when you press your lips to the nape of his neck, hands stroking along his biceps to trap him. His heartbeat flutters under your tongue as you lick your way to his mouth, and finally he sprawls back into your embrace.

So much heat beneath your hands. So much warmth radiating from him, even when he complains constantly of the cold.

You release him long enough for him to turn and face you, his voice falling silent. His tongue is small and pink and wonderfully slick in your mouth. You can taste his confusion, because this isn't how it usually goes. Normally it would be dark and on your beat up old mattress with no box springs, and he would be burrowing closer to you. You never reach for him. You never pull him into your lap until he's draped across you, kissing messily and shoving your hands down the back of his baggy cargo pants. This isn't like you. Is it?

He's moaning into your mouth and grinding down, and you never want this slow roll in your stomach to go away. It's the dip you feel when you lean too far over the balcony railing, the way your breath catches for just one second when you see something new in the store. He's cupping your cheeks with his hands, but the coolness of his glove is distracting. It's been warmed by his body, but it isn't him. It's some alien skin across your face, and you tug his hand away.

There's a flash of hurt in his eyes when you draw back. You ignore it and tug at each leather finger of his glove until it slides free. The fur is matted and ruffled, so you stroke it until it's laying properly again. When you look up, he's staring down at your joined hands, so you raise them to your face, if only to have him look at you again. There's confusion in there, but also nameless understanding. You close your eyes and rub your cheek on the velvet feel of his palm.

When you look at him once more, the restlessness that's been plaguing him all day is of a different nature now. You kiss his wrist and grab his hips, and lower him back onto your threadbare carpet.

You found your life in a dirty Yokohama alley. But the pain you feel now-- all these emotions swirling in you until you think you'll burst open and spill your guts across the pavement- It makes you wonder if you didn't find your death, as well.