Curing the infection. 3

“Why haven’t you recorded anything since?” I look up at him over my glasses and lean back into my pile of pillows. He stands by the side of the bed and stretches, arms wide, fists clenched, spine curled back. “I dunno,” he answers on an exhale, letting his arms slap back down to his sides. I push his pillows up and pull his side of the covers back for him to get into as he kicks his slippers off.
“Seriously,” I continue. He clumsily slides between the sheets and the whole bed moves with his weight. We shift next to each other; his legs are cold and startling and the space automatically feels cramped. “Why haven’t you done any more singing or anything?” He frowns.
“I do, I just don’t record it.”
“Um, I’m sorry what?”
“I sing all the time, I just don’t record and post it anymore.”
“I never hear you sing.”
“Maybe I just don’t sing around you.”
There’s silence, and it feels bitter. I know he doesn’t mean it as harshly as it sounds.
“God, that sounds terrible doesn’t it.” He says, turning his head to look at me. It’s not a question, it’s a statement.
I laugh, shrug and reach away to put my book on the bedside table. “It’s fine.” I say, a little too quietly. I can’t decide whether I want him to hear me.
“Have you not ever recorded yourself singing?” He’s trying to change the subject, and I let him. I lie back again, looking up at the ceiling in mock consideration.
“You definitely can sing though.”
“I don’t need to hear about my smug face anymore you know.”
“It’s not about your smug face, it’s about your humming.”
“My what?”
“You’re good at humming. And humming is like, 55% of singing.”
“Yeah. Like with smell and taste.”
“Wow you really are a man of science.”
He laughs and sits up, crossing his legs and positioning his entire body to face me.
“Do it.”
My face of indignation is the only response he needs.
“Come on,” he taps my knee.
I know he’s doing this because he’s embarrassed of what he’s just said. Whenever he’s embarrassed he becomes really extroverted and faux spontaneous almost immediately, like a reflex. It feels like an apology, and I don’t know what to say.
He gasps.
“But I’m not looking you in the face to do it, like knee to knee this close. That’s fucking intense.”
He looks confused. “Right…”
“Like, I literally won’t be able to sing if I can see you.”
He nods.
“Like pissing.”
“Woman of science.”
There’s a beat of silence, before I reach over to his side of the bed and turn out the light.

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