Like wild birds

One afternoon M stayed behind when Y walked up to town; there was some bit of work she needed to finish. But when he returned an hour later she had herself gone out. He stowed the things from the market, then went to the bathroom, which like everything else in the apartment was only just big enough for human habitation, and was now also strung with what looked like a week’s worth of M’s underthings. 

It seemed a very particular kind of encounter, meeting with a woman’s delicate items that way, very particular but of a texture so strangely woven he could only begin to tease it apart. There was the hint of something erotic in it, to be sure, perhaps more than a hint in this instance, for M he could now see owned some very lovely laundry, with a strong tilt toward the dark and diaphanous, but there was also something mean in it, all those lovely things wrung out and hung up to dry like that, like wild birds shot out of the sky.

The Italian Novel

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