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Outside the skies sang the hymns of the night.
The shuffle of the rain had syncopated with Charlie Witsend’s breathing. The Wellington wind made it dance, like silver silk, in the North Island sky. Ranginui still cried.
There were no buses operating. Even the traffic had been diminished by the hour; only a few drunks, wrapped in the tendrils of the rain shuffled along the streets.
On Cambridge Terrace stands The Embassy cinema with its vanilla and calico facade that wears a skirt of its latest features. The architecture seemed to crawl upwards; it supported the billboards that leered out at the street. Luxury carpets and debt management.
Charlie perched under the awnings opposite The Embassy. The empty bottles, lonely now, in the back room of the Enigma. His eyes etched the image of the luxury carpet advert into his choked libido; for the seventh time this week. It showed the lower half of a naked, feminine figure, in a promiscuous room. His legs forgot their employment, again, to find his way home. He couldn’t stop himself from looking.
He saw the arch of the heels. Coy and curled up. The shin, up to the knee, nestled in the plush down of the carpet. The thighs slightly raised.
“She’s on her elbows” he thought to himself.
The rain lashed his face.
“She’s got his legs wrapped around her naked ribs,” the bed sheets are riled and undressed. “She’s got char ruby lips and lascivious hips.”
He couldn’t help himself. He teased it out. He drew out the rest of the scene into the rain soaked, incandescent light of the street lamps. It continued, unabated, for seven minutes. The sound of a window, thrust upon its hinges; by the wind, stirred him from his reverie and out from under the awning.
A stab of sobriety. It started in his fingers, up to his palms and then every pour of his dishevelled being.
He breathed in. It’s been the same, every night, since Sarah left; seven weeks ago. He sloughed and wrestled his way back to the Cambridge Hotel, a hostel. Room 106. Tiled floors and a rigid bunk.
He hears the epitaph of the advert ring in his ears.
“No more carpet burn.”