Charlie Needs Bread – by Jonathan Berber
Anne looks out of the window. The trees are shivering in the wind. Above, battalions of clouds chase each other across the sky. Anne needs to go to the shop. The forecast says it is warm outside, so it won’t be worth changing. She could put on a bra, push up her tiny globes, make the most of the little that she has. No. Why bother? No-one is interested anyway.
She is wearing jeans and a thin top. The top is like a short dress, hanging from her bony shoulders and flowing over her to form a flaring flower, a horn that ripples around the top of her jeans. The wind presses into her as she walks, pushing through the thin fabric, smoothing it onto her chest. She regrets not taking the trouble to dress properly.
Charlie needs bread and milk. He glances in the mirror and rubs his chin. It’s rough. He could change that, but it’s not worth it. He won’t meet anyone today. This is now and no-one cares any more. He never sees anyone worth talking to. Never.
Anne is almost at the shop when a man walks past. She looks him over. He has a carrier bag with things in it. The wind passes around him and a cloud of black hair frames his face. He is fine looking, with intelligent eyes. If he shaved then he would be almost perfect. Her gaze drops from his face, instinctively scanning the front of his trousers.
Charlie is walking home, hurried by the wind that slaps his back, goading him. There’s a woman walking the other way. She passes close by. He catches her looking at him, then he lowers his eyes. It’s always the same when he sees a woman. He cannot help it, he just has to look down. It’s usually a disappointment, just some thick garment from neck to waist that hides it all. Not her. Plastered thinly to her body, moulded by the air, the fabric of her top rounds over her modest breasts. It reveals everything, strips her naked. Her nipples form tiny finger-tips, her belly dimples softly.
A woman and a man pass on the pavement. They look and wonder, excitement growing, fantasies teasing. In a second it is over. The wind passes around two figures as they slip apart.
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