“I don’t know where they are and I don’t know how to find them.”
Justine was one of those women who gasped when she saw monarch butterflies and cursed at cars and chucked children under the chin with genuine affection. She could also be too much. Too much to handle. Too much to listen to. Too much nonsense in her thoughts that she seemed to share without filter. But for Adam, who was new to her presence, she was a brilliant green and red hummingbird – all fascination and fluttering wings. Their meetings were brief; he only took a lunch hour to visit her, so her story came in segments like a Dickens story. She left him with cliffhangers.
“I don’t know if they’re still alive, so many babies get sick…”
Adam knew of course that she had bore children, and that none of them were Blake’s. Faint stretch marks criss-crossed her breasts and her olive skin grew gossamer across her hips, forming a traceable treasure map to the soft down between her legs.
“They’re not mine any more, but I still dream that they are. I still dream about their father, and the way he looked at me. You look at me the same way, like some religious fanatic who’s just been dipped in the river.”
Sometimes they spent the entire hour all entwined limbs and raw heat. Sometimes the hour would end before they had done so much as hold hands. Adam would look at the Kit-Cat clock above the stove (where she cooked Blake dinner every night) and he would shove his hands in his pockets, and kiss Justine’s cheek swiftly. He knew this might be the last day might meet like this, so every day, he said a furtive prayer (he wasn’t sure to whom) for another chance tomorrow. He vowed to put his finger to her lips as soon as he walked in the door, to shut her up, to grab the nape of her neck and feel just how soft her hair might be (but it wasn’t, it was coarse – thick hair usually is), and to kiss her for the entire hour. Adam wanted to be able to look at the finger that had touched her lips, to see the red mark that her lipstick made as a reminder that she existed until he saw her again at noon the next day.