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The pipes in our bathroom bang throughout the night. The trick is to turn the hot water on and off slowly until the noise stops. We are curled from toe to pinky finger under cheap throw covers playing rock paper scissors. It’s my turn to get up but neither of us really want me to move as this would ruin the delicate bubble of warmth we have constructed. Your cold fingers trace the contours of my nose and the pipes drone on.

I want to say something like the room falls silent at your touch. Like my heart begins to beat in time to the banging of those pipes. Like that noise becomes the synchronized pulse of you, me and this rented apartment we’ve made home. Like your hand on my cheek warms my whole body. But the truth is the pipes keep us awake all night and it is fucking freezing.

This is not the silver screen romance I envisioned while third-wheeling it in the backs of crowded movie theatres, sitting awkwardly between the entwined bodies of my more romantically-developed peers. I brush my teeth while you piss and you pop the zits on my shoulder blades. We argue about nothing at all and I get mad at weird shit like the way you stand while you wash the dishes. I’m insecure and moody as all hell and you know me too well to hold me to any cinematic standard. We’re broke and we have no idea what we’re doing. And you forgot to call the landlord again and those fucking pipes won’t quit. So you’ll be cranky all day tomorrow at that job you hate. You’ll come home and I’ll kiss you like you’re returning from a goddamn war and we’ll fuck so loud the neighbours won’t even bitch about the pipes anymore.

Because I love you and I know now what that means. It is this. It is this little life we have built here in this tiny apartment. It is that dying plant and that broken window frame that keeps falling on my head. It is too little closet space and a bed that always seems to collapse just before I’m about to cum. And it’s us lying here as those pipes bang on and on, adrift somewhere in that liminal space between sleep and consciousness, your hand between my thighs and your breath hot on my neck as you whisper, I’ll get it this time, and tip toe across the icy floor to the bathroom.

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