Their lips locked, as if to prove nothing is casual. They had gone in for friendly affection and found themselves committed to something much more. Had they been teens in braces, snagged wires would have explained it; as it was, some inexplicable suction event was preventing them from separating their mouths. The more they struggled, the more they panicked and the more they reflected each other’s panic, the tighter grew the slurpy bond between them. She cursed herself for having left open the door to her office. Backing up, she pulled him toward the door but stumbled over his forward foot and caromed off the credenza, wobbling the family photos, dragging her employee with her by the lips, out through the doorway into the hall. They spun madly across the tiles and bounced against the opposite wall to the sound of soft radio music and senseless conversations from other offices. No one saw this, but now they were exposed to traffic and doors to stairways and elevator doors and no closer to removing their faces from one another. “Ithioth,” she said. It was their first fight. Her phone rang. He pushed off the wall and sent them careening back into her office and spun them toward her desk. She mashed the heel of her hand onto the phone and the boss came up on speaker looking for an explanation. “Get in here now,” is how he asked. “Mm-hmm,” she answered and hung up, or thought she had. She might have conferenced the company. She picked up her report. They were too close for eye contact, their faces blurry and unfocused. They sat in opposing chairs and tried to relax and not resist and let nature take its course. Footsteps clicked in the hall. The phone just rang and rang.

Copyright © July 31, 2008 David Hodges

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