The old man watched her, his precious M, three little sounds, primal and indicitive of satisfaction, like biting into a sweet slice of banana creme pie.  Cool, filling and refreshing.  She was all knees and elbows still, sitting in that chair that was just a little too big for her waifish frame.

Mmm, Mmmmmm, Mmmmmmmm,

Her skin was a soft brown, and she wore a little skirt that let him see several purple splotches on her thin legs, the trappings of a youth not fully expended.

“You shouldn’t watch me like that, it creeps me out you know.”  She tilted her head as she spoke, ah, how quick she was to dismiss his scrutiny.  “Oh, darling, I only hope to absorb as much of you as I can before you disappear forever.”  She tied back her kinky hair and waved a hand at him, “Whatever.”

Oh, that one word, how it stung his old soul, having heard it so many times before from D, that terrible indifference.  Give me hatred, give me love, anything, just steer me clear of indifference, he thought.  “Are you going to start whining about whatever again, I bet that’s exactly what you’re thinking, isn’t it?”  Clever M, always so quick to say exactly what was on his mind, and always so quick to insert the pin into the balloon of emotion that always waited to inflate beneath the surface.

“Once again, you have scoured me clean of the dirt of thought.”  His words seemed to mollify her momentarily, and she came over and sat on the large red cushion next to where he sat, and threw her thin tanned arms around his neck.  The old man sighed heavily, it was a sigh of exasperation mixed with a pleasure that held him as surely as iron chains.  For her never to move, he would have cut his few remaining years in half.  “Good, god, I love you, but you can be so depressing sometimes.”  She mumbled the last word, already nuzzling his neck as she was prone to do, sending little thrills up his old spine, and bringing his heartbeat perilously close to seizure.

“When I am gone, will you continue to love me?”  He asked wistfully, as if he did not dread her answer, which in truth, he did.  She lifted her head for a moment to search his eyes, and then narrowed her emerald eyes at him, looking so much like a cat about to pounce on an unsuspecting rodent.  “Why do you keep asking me such silly questions?  Sometimes I think it is you who will not love me anymore, and you are asking yourself, using me as a soundboard of sorts.”  The old man matched her gaze, and answered carefully, not wishing to disturb the fiery temper beneath.  “My old mind is set love, I dream of things that I wish to be, knowing already what it is that would bring a smile to my face, sure that from today until tomorrow my whims will stay anchored within, waiting to be set free.”  She passed him the small glass that sat on the long wooden coffee table that M currently was using as a footrest.  “I am old M, my whims are ones that fly past the rocks of certainty that represent my deepest desires, my deepest happiness, a place that you have carelessly penetrated, and I fear my old heart could not bear such a loss.  I speak of fear M, a cold desperate fear that awakens me falsely amidst deep sleep, only so I can feel its crushing weight a split second before screaming in a voice that no one can hear.”

She stroked his head as he spoke, twisting her lithe form so as to put the whole of her slight weight leaning on him.  “I said I would be here, but you, are you not desired as well?  Do you not entertain others such as I?  How am I to believe that once penetrated as such, you will not be infiltrated once again, in a simpler way, one that leaves less wreckage and spoil in its wake?”  He closed his eyes and tried to imagine another, or another, and could not, he tried to mouth the words, the sounds that at once meant ultimate betrayal, and ultimate happiness, words that lost all meaning, and meant everything to him.  He could not.

“You may never know, and what a tragedy that would be, what a tragedy we would be my love.”  He threw back the glass and swallowed the contents greedily, not wanting to imagine the depth of that sadness.  “Why must you drink so much love?  Am I not good enough to be with, that you must lose your senses?  Is it because I am not really here, and you seek to keep my spirit in flesh?”

He nodded to himself as she faded into nothing, precious M.  “Tis better to have loved and lost, than to never have loved at all.”  Looking to the side, and seeing the empty red cushion, he shakily rose, and stumbled unsteadily to the small table which held a single bottle of amber liquid, and a small bucket of half melted ice and silver tongs.

“Quoth the raven, nevermore, nevermore.”