She Clicks Her Ruby Shoes
by Lavender

by this time next year, I won't be here
- Guster

Charlotte breathes out.

There is John, on his back; he snores intermittently, like any properly cliched husband would. She presses her nose against his shoulder. He smells like stale cigarettes - hypocritical, yet unsurprising - and perfume - again, not a shock. They are still too new for him to stray, she knows, but the implied "yet" in her thoughts is what worries her.

That the thought doesn't actually bother her very much is what worries her more.

She loathes Tokyo. It is frenetic, flashy, like Las Vegas on speed (mostly) without the topless girls and prostitutes and drunken vows of marriage. Everywhere she goes she feels as though a piece of her is snagged on the doorstep, unraveling like the old sweater she brought for comfort but hasn't worn because it never gets cold in their colorless, odorless, and (here she knows she is becoming overly- dramatic) lifeless climate-controlled hotel room. There are pieces of Charlotte strewn on city sidewalks, in nightclubs, beneath the feet of businessmen hunting down taxis.

John shifts beside her.

They could have gone to London. She loves England; as a teenager she wore her anglophilia like a pretentious badge of honor. There she wouldn't feel her skin pulled apart as she is stretched from building to building. There she could have curled up in a corner, warm, quiet, breathing, alone and content because she knows why she is there.

Charlotte lays in bed beside her husband, warm, quiet, breathing. She wonders how much of herself will be left by this time tomorrow.


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