Table Salt
rating: +19+x

Our relationship had always been a rather explosive affair.

In the afterglow, after the sex, after the fight, after the blows exchanged, after the painful words, after coming home, after everything flowing backwards; I think.

‘Do I want him like I want a gun in my mouth, or do I want him like oxygen?’

Staring at the ceiling and he’s breathing soft beside me. If I move an inch, he may be startled awake, looking for an escape from his nightmares, and looking for someone to blame. Looking for me to be his steady reassurance that everything is okay, then becoming hostile as I interrupted him from the nightmares he felt he had to face; he wants to wake up emotionally bloodied and bruised. When I’m sure that he’s still, I minutely move onto my side, wait for noise, and, when nothing happens, and my mind is therefore unneeded, I think about chemicals.

Sodium, for example, is a highly reactive metal. Exposed to water, even the water vapour in air, it creates sodium hydroxide and hydrogen gas. The heat of the reaction tends to ignite the gas, creating a bit of flash and flame. Nothing too dramatic, but I wouldn’t recommend playing around with it.

Chlorine is a highly reactive gas. Expose it to water, and you get hydrochloric acid. One great source of water is the human body. Breathe in chlorine, and it will turn to acid as it enters your lungs. Dangerous even in low concentrations, but at 400 ppm, it will kill you. Sometimes, someone will make it by mistake. But, historically, it was used as a weapon of war. Man has always been a monster.

Sodium chloride is an ionic compound made up of one-part sodium to one-part chlorine. We use it to flavour food. Table salt. A bland result of two dangerous elements, which can be harmless.

Remember, a hammer can create a blade or dull its edge.

Did I think, at some point, with Kit snarling my name, that we might be salt? That we could somehow become less than the sum of our parts? That we might be safe?

I know he is breaking himself against me. Breathing me in and turning me to acid. And I have never wanted quite so desperately to be somebody’s poison. My throat burns, and I imagine chlorine flowing down into my lungs. He is chlorine – dangerous to tangle with – whilst I am water – pure, a flowing stream. Together, we are fatal.

I don’t think it would be the first time someone chose me as the weapon of their suicide.

My body feels like it is turning into poison – poison for him. Yet, nothing will make me leave his side, from watching him in the moonlight, from holding him when he tears at himself from nightmares.
I think, and it hurts, but…

‘Does chlorine long for the caress of an inhalation?’

If I let him inhale me, he may die. If I inhale him, I may die. We are not table salt. We are not safe.

He stirs at my side and I’m instantly drawn to him. He digs his nails into my back, hard enough that blood raises up into the little rivulets. I let him, anyway, even when the air is tangy and metallic. He forcefully turns me, forces me into a kiss. Despite my fears, I breathe into him, I let our dangerous elements mix until he pulls back, just slightly.

"God," he whispers, against my mouth. “I’ve missed this.”

And he doesn’t mean me, and he doesn’t mean sex. He means acid and flame. Fights and tension. Blood and bandaids. Sodium and chlorine.

Not table salt.

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