I suppose I should feel guilty for this, for rifling through his briefcase in search of the slim pack of cigarettes I know he keeps hidden beneath the carefully sorted documents. But then again, when I really think about it, nothing in my life is mine. Everything is borrowed. These sheets wrapped around my waist are borrowed, and probably could not count the number of bodies that have writhed and twined between them. This bed that creaks softly as I return to its embrace is borrowed, and in just a few short hours will be stripped and washed of all trace of its current occupants. Everything in this room is borrowed, from the bland artwork and the cheap furniture to the starched towels and individual instant coffee packets. Even the man who slumbers contentedly at my side, whose pilfered cigarette now burns between my lips, is borrowed. I have stolen him away temporarily, but he will always return to his own life. The gold ring around his finger could be a collar around his neck, for all it claims him as another’s. All I may share with him are these worn sheets and barren walls; I have no right to ask for more, and he can give me nothing else. This is all we are. This is all I have. When dawn breaks through the drawn blinds I’ll gather my scattered clothing and leave this place, and it will think nothing of one more stranger passing through its doors.

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