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A Derivation of Love, Chapter 9: Friday, September 14th, 2001.

Friday, September 14th, 2001.

Desmond’s cock was limp and wet with spermicidal fluid. He lay on his back, one hand behind his head, and the other on his stomach holding a cigarette. The smoke curled in front of him, up and around. Carmen was asleep, facing the wall.

He was leaving Calgary, tomorrow. Probably forever. At least for years and years and he probably would never see her again. If nothing else, the two people who might again meet would no longer be the two who said good-bye. He wanted to say something to mark the occasion, write something, maybe make a speech of some kind, or a scene, but he didn’t know what to do. He knew only he wanted to do something and that Carmen wanted him to do it too.

He had considered telling her he loved her, but decided it would only cause more trouble in the long run. It wasn’t really true either. Sure, there were times when he thought he loved her, but there was also times when he probably didn’t. His overall attitude could be called love, but it didn’t really carry any of the connotations men and women normally associate with it. He didn’t want to live with her, or raise children, or never sleep with anyone else, or spend all his time with her, but inside him he had a good feeling for her and her alone. It was love, as far as Desmond understood it, but she probably understood it much differently.

Besides, there always had been a line between them. When they met, Carmen was getting over her ex-boyfriend, Desmond was getting over his ex-girlfriend, and they both knew from the very start, he would leave Calgary as soon as he finished his degree. Sure, sometimes they slipped into old patterns out of habit, but the unexpected tension which inevitably emerged always reminded them of the reality of the situation. Each knew where the other stood and, as a result, both were more or less happy. Plus, the sex was really good.

Desmond took a long draw off his cigarette and exhaled.

The last time Desmond had seen Cassandra, she was stoned on mushrooms, hanging out by the War Memorial in Ottawa, watching the New Year’s fireworks with some of her friends. She was dropping out of school to head to Mexico with her drug dealing boyfriend. Her eyes were glassy and her face seemed to reflect all the colours exploding in the sky. She talked to him but, for her, he was barely there. Non-existent. He said nothing of consequence that night and, as usual, went home alone wedged in between the different groups of people celebrating on the bus. Beneath his heartache and loneliness, it all seemed so perfect and beautiful.

And, to be honest -- for him -- it was.

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