They were going in reverse. They had met in person, talked on the phone. Now there were only tiny words typed into a tiny keyboard. Call me, she typed. It took her longer than it should have. She had a hard time manipulating the keys in her current state.
You are being disrespectful, he typed back. I am trying to work.
She stared at the word disrespectful on the tiny screen. She thought perhaps she was misreading. The word disrespectful reminded her of her mother’s backhand. That had been so long ago. It was hard to know now if she’d invented that scenario or if it’d actually happened. No, she could still remember the burn of her face. She touched her cheek in remembrance. She longed for the man’s hand to burn her similarly. Her cheek was sterile and cold to the touch. What she sought was heat.
The first time he had held her the man had been fevered. He’d walked an hour to see her, which had felt like devotion. She’d given him an aspirin from her purse, pressed a cold washcloth to his forehead. She’d lain down beside him, warmed herself with his sickness. She’d wanted him to feel better, but more than that she’d wanted to feel her skin scorched against his. She’d removed their clothing, spread out atop him. She wanted to press herself to him as long as long as she could stand it, an open palm on a lit burner. She wanted there to be evidence of him on her body after he left, like her mother’s handprint on her cheek that day at school.