We are stardust,
billion-year-old carbon

-Joni Mitchell

***

The first warm day of the year. My legs are white and on their way to Netto.
Netto is the supermarket I love the most. It’s not upmarket, you can’t even get soy sauce, but there’s always discount Hackfleisch and men who’ll look up your skirt.
The same old thing every season: first tripping out tentatively like some Victorian dowager afraid of showing an ankle then suddenly balls deep in Summer walking unabashed through Hermanplatz wearing nothing but a piece of dental floss.

Two men forget to buy yoghurt and one follows me down the aisle from dried goods to frozen.
I think he whispered “ooh, Mama,” but maybe he’s just thrilled to find pasta.
I’m either a freak or looking pretty good, most likely easy pickings, a special-offer road testing her new summer outfit: high tan wedges, leopard print, short leather skirt.
Maybe they like me more now I’m fat? Spring men are thirsty. By August you can walk past practically naked without getting a second look. August men are jaded. But in April they are newly emerged soft shell crabs, their eyes haven’t yet hardened.
I am thirsty too. Yesterday I was walking through Tempelhoferfeld looking at every man jogging past, some of the ladies too. I almost cried.
Brown legs, thick ones, thin ones, white knotty knees, legs like bits of wood, legs like baguettes, welcome mat rough or smooth and juvenile.
I could love a million legs! But instead, I eat.

I buy myself a Snickers and eat it walking home. The lack of fucking sits around my waist like a fat manacle. The caramel strands cling as the chocolate breaks and I think about this guy who is visiting. He’s taking a few photos for a mutual friend’s online art initiative, I don’t know him. My friend says he’s smart but silent.
I’m expecting someone scabrous, perhaps with a stringy beard and obsequious manners, I don’t know why. I’m just expecting Golem. But a small part of me hopes he’s hot.

I dump some cookies on a plate. They let out a plume of sweetish dust, are cheap and grey. I eat two.
Maybe I shouldn’t have taken them out of the packet? I don’t want to give him The Plague.
The Plague hangs over us all.
Looking out over the balcony the Hof is huge and full of flowers.
You can see where a whole apartment block got blown up in the Second World War.
This city digests its disasters in weeds and cherry blossom, flowers quickly, turns brown. Flowers again. This disaster will be no different.

The doorbell. I throw off my house-shoes and run to answer.
My feet are bare and perfectly painted. I keep them on duty even though there’s no reason to.
The foot perverts have packed up or are sheltering in place,
I’m out of work.
He’s already on my floor, though I live on the fourth.
I open the door to a stooped man sweating bullets.
Meaty. Swarthy, obviously fit. Tall but not crazy tall, and he doesn’t have a wispy beard or obsequious manners. Is kind of brisk. The first man I’ve seen close up in over six weeks.
His presence is heavy and new and inescapable. He looks like Barney Gumble if Barney Gumble had a gym membership, or used to have one.
“Oh no one gets up them that fast, how did you do it?”
He just grunts and smiles. I get him a glass of water.
Perhaps it is the same for him? Weird to be here. Weird to be thrust into this cloistered female space, the bra on a door handle, the smell of nail polish.
The blood rushes around under his skin as we look at each other. He’s very pink and his eyes are grey-blue-grey depending on which way he turns.
And he’s turning everywhere, working things out.
I stare at his Adam’s apple chugging up and down as the water disappears.
So why is he here? He looks as if trying to remember. Then: Aha! he takes out his camera.
The thing to do. He’s here to take photos.

Despite my best efforts, his presence excites me.
He asks me questions about myself, which of course I like. Questions for the Blog. He doesn’t flirt.
I try not to look at his legs, they are thick and tawny. I sit criss-cross-applesauce next to him.
It’s super awkward, I can feel him making an effort not to look at my crotch and I think I accidentally flash my panties.
The air thickens with the effort of being neutral.
I kidded myself I was zen about this, about being celibate.
I have been fooling myself.
His body is right there reminding me.
I speak with effort, craven and whispery, the waft of a starving hermit rotting on the floor of a cave.
“Oh, so you like running too?”
Of course, he does, look at those legs.
He tells me he plays bass and my eyes glint uncontrollably.
Sex: I’m not used to having a man in my house for any other reason.
It sets off a chain reaction: the blocks of the inescapable Jenga sliding into place,
You on top of …

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