just for fun

just for fun
by shane collins
This was not the first evening. Many times she had spent the night in his bed. Sometimes he would make her dinner and they would watch a movie first but sometimes not. In the moment of their passion, she gasped and trembled and he held her close, feeling both empty and full at the same time. Secretly though, he enjoyed what happened next better. They lay in bed, whispering to each other and laughing quietly, as if they feared someone might hear. She would go to sleep but he would lie awake. He liked the feel of her in his arms, the smell of her hair, and the sound of someone breathing beside him. Clothes littered the floor around his bed but in the morning, one set would be gone. Sometimes she would say goodbye before leaving and sometimes not. This was the first time that she had asked him to come over.
The gravel path wound down a hill and around a small pond. It was illuminated by street lamps on either side. Each light made him cast a different shadow. As he walked down the path, some of the shadows would grow very dark while others faded to near inexistence. Then, just as he thought they were gone, they would grow darker again, always moving and shifting, seeming to rotate around him as he walked.
“It’s just for fun,” he explained to the shadows. “It doesn’t mean anything.” He kicked a pebble and watched it bounce and roll, careening down the path. He had never met her boyfriend. He went to a school two hours away. He saw her one weekend a month. Though they had never met, he thought about the Boyfriend frequently. The Boyfriend was cold and demeaning, he imagined. He wouldn’t appreciate her, or notice that she painted her nails every day. He wouldn’t care that she read the New York Times in the morning or that late at night she often murmured in her sleep.
She was waiting outside for him. She brought him up to her room and they watched a movie from her bed. He was only half interested in the movie. Her neck was warm and smooth but when he kissed it, she whispered, “No.”
“Why not?”
“He’ll be mad.”
“Will he know?”
“I should tell him,” she said. “I love him.”
Her shoulder was bare and white in the lamp light that came in through the window. He watched the shadow his hand cast as his fingertips traced their way down her shoulder and along her arm. “Do you really love him?”
“I don’t know.”
“If you really love him, then what am I doing here?” He motioned as if to leave.
“No,” she said, pulling him back to her. And then later, “I suppose I’ll have to tell him. We’ll break up this weekend.”
“Will you?”
“I think so.” She pushed him onto his back and climbed on top of him. She kissed the nape of his neck and her finger nails scratched his chest. She bit the bottom part of his ear and whispered something. They made love four times that night.
The shades were dark and hung low. It was noon time before they realized the day had already come. He dressed in the clothes that were strewn across the room and left.
“It’s just for fun,” he reminded himself. He made only one shadow as he walked up the path that wound around the pond and the hill.

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