We Know the World with Our Bodies by Di Jayawickrema
I began to think of you last night in the dying hours of a house party, sitting on a low couch in a dim room with a man I just met and will never see again, watching my friend dance with a stranger; their feet flying freely, palms pressed together, holding the space between them. Outside, a snowstorm raged, the yellow streetlights blown out against the frosted windows. It made me think of us and every chance we let burst. “Do you want to dance?” I said to the man next to me. “No,” he said, moving closer, our thighs, arms, elbows grazing. You only ever want me when I’m looking away, you once said to me. The last of the party guests drifted in, dampening in the drunken heat of the small room, melting like snowflakes on every bare surface. A girl visiting from Italy dropped on the worn arm of our couch and blew a puff of air, hard, against the windowpane. We watched her breath bloom and fade on the glass. She smiled and said she loved New York in winter, that it’s globulous. “Globulous!” she cried to the room, arms thrown wide. “Are you here alone?” the man said in a low voice. I smiled and turned away, thinking of you. Trust me, I’d told you at the time. What comes after will never be as good as the wanting. “Everyone,” the party host announced from the dusty floor. “It’s time to go to bed.” The man caught my eye. “I agree,” he said. I held his gaze, thinking of the way you said, we know the world with our bodies. It opens and closes at our touch.
Di Jayawickrema is a Sri Lankan writer living in New York. Her fiction has appeared in The Albion Review, Fiction Fix, and Ginosko Literary Journal. She was the 2006 recipient of the Portia Dunham Award in Fiction and The Albion Review Award for Fiction. She was a 2015 writing resident at Azule Artist Residency.