ARDOR Literary Magazine

ARDOR Literary Magazine - Issue Two, May 2013

Issue One, Published January 2013

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Page 18 of 55

(cont.) Unbearable, the thought of trained hands, such as her own, knowing hands, hands that understand what it is that they must find, digging in vain. In class, she practiced on the other students, but never allowed herself to receive. She would not be touched. It was after her third class, when she once again refused a massage, that Evan asked her to stay after for a bit, just to talk. They huddled in the back corner of the small storefront space while the rest of the class gathered their things near the door. Evan whispered to her, conspiring. "There are requirements, you know. To get a degree. The school sets them. It's not me. You've got to give and take." Evan spoke in uncomfortable clipped sentences, backing into the conflict. They have become close friends in the intervening years, but then he was a stranger, her instructor. She told herself not to cry, sucking her lips in between her teeth. She shook, and she knew what she looked like when she shook. Evan's face went white, panicked. Her classmates took their leave, quickly and quietly, stranding Evan alone to ride out this storm. "Not today," Kathy had managed. And Evan had agreed, "Not today." Kathy graduated with her class. Requirements were waived. In the Satori room, music marks the time, the breathy flute flirting with the staccato sitar, as Kathy finishes with her client's arms. She lifts the sheet off his left leg, then tucks it back in under his side, avoiding further exposure. Her hands encircle his thigh; her fingers crawl upward. She repeats the names of the muscles in her head – sartorius, gracilis, adductor, pectineus – hoping that the randomness of the syllables will turn her thoughts from the temptation before her. But instead, with each word, she (cont.)

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