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In the dark room, not even the drumming walls can drown out their breathing sounds. The absence of light may deprive them of seeing a face but it does not rob them of knowing that someone else, although faceless, is lying next to them. Someone else is breathing and they can hear it.

Only two bodies in the dark room. Only two bodies breathing.

The walls continue to shake with every drumming beat. The breathing sounds start to quicken; the darkness penetrates them now. She sits up and crosses her legs, limiting her body movement to a narrow circle that she hopes will protect her from the drumming and the darkness. She can hear him move, shuffling somewhere near her circle, only audible through his paced breathing.

They don’t know which is more frightening: the darkness or the other presence in the dark room. They remain still, fearing any movement may provoke the darkness to swallow them. They don’t know it already did.

The drumming never ceases but it sounds different now mixed with their gradually relaxing breathing. The darkness has settled within them, the fear recedes to deeper corners of their minds. She uncrosses her legs and cautiously folds them beneath her; the circle transforms to a tight rectangle that can only hold her for a moment. She cannot see him but her ears show her the way and his synchronized breathing is a good compass. Extending her right arm, she breaks the rectangle and it shatters as her whole body leans forward seeking touch. A sudden gasp, sharp but quickly lost amidst the drumming, receives her touch; she thinks it’s his neck. Her hand feels the resonance of his blood flow in the carotid and her fingers gently settle on the borders of his neck as if to choke him. His breathing quickens; he releases a sigh as her hand moves upwards, exploring his face. The tips of her fingers linger as the feeling of skin, soft skin, intoxicates. They stop when met with a new texture, no longer soft but creamy like layers of make-up. She withdraws her hand and tastes her fingers; he tastes bitter like coffee. She approaches him and their knees collide; he’s closer than she thought. Slowly pushing her hand back into the darkness to find his face, she lands on his creamy spot again. She keeps her fingers there and leans in. Their heads meet and he flinches. She sticks out her tongue and starts licking his coffee face, almost poking his eye once. She can feel his body recoil but her hands scroll down and sleep on his chest; he sits still. Her tongue can no longer find coffee or cream on his face. She is excited, he is scared, and they feel more comfortable in the darkness now. They don’t know it’s seeping through the walls with every drumming beat.

He begins to hum to forget the drumming but she barely hears it. Only their breathing survives in the darkness. His face, completely excavated by her tongue, is exposed at last. He cannot see his face or hers, only the darkness knows who they are. But now he knows one thing: the feel of her tongue. He shifts carefully and pushes her hands off his chest. A moment of understanding permeates the small space between their bodies. He reaches out, manages to find her shoulders and pushes her back, laying her on the ground. She holds his hand and pulls him closer. He feels her breathing on his wet face and she sees him. There is no space between them. There is no space for darkness. There is only their breathing, there is only the drumming.

The drumming walls dance along a new tempo. The darkness is silent at last. They are together in the dark room, they are new in their dark room.

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