Sounds from Paradise

by Erin POPELKA
 

Her room was thumping again, and Amy just couldn’t take it. “Will you shut the FUCK UP?!?” she said, pounding her fist against the thin wall.

Lance and Jessie replied with louder moans and heavier breathing. Amy shoved her feet in her clogs, pulled her coat on over her pajamas, and slammed the door on her way out.

Lance would only last about ten minutes. She hated that she knew this fact. She wished they had a more regular pattern, enough that she could be out of her room at the appointed hour. If it were always an after-work-to-get-up-an-appetite-for-dinner-fuck, then she’d just go straight to dinner, and not stop at home first. Or if it were a Sunday-morning-day-off-wake-up-fuck, then she’d take a Sunday morning run. But there was no decipherable pattern. The only consistency was that her neighbors always seemed to screw each other when she was home. Tonight was the worst - a goodnight-honey-fuck just as she was about to fall asleep. Amy was starting to wonder if she was the pattern, an audio-voyeur.

She walked over to the deck of the Chalet. It was the only tasteful building at McMurdo Station, home to the offices of the Station Manager and the National Science Foundation Representative. The building was all wood, even with lovely wood paneling inside, and they’d built a deck that looked out to the frozen sea of McMurdo Sound and the Trans-Antarctic Mountains. A semi-circle of flag poles populated the deck, one flag for each nation that originally signed the Antarctic Treaty. A bust of Admiral Byrd sat in the middle.

Tonight wasn’t bad, clear and in the 30’s with a bit of wind to keep the flags busy. Amy sat down on the cold wooden bench and stared out at the mountains. She tried to do a breathing meditation like they did at the end of yoga class, breathe out toxins, breath in pure air. Breathe out frustration, breathe in pure air. The mountains offered a backdrop for her breathing with their stable figures, their indifferent gaze. She could feel herself calming ever so slightly with each exhalation, her shoulders sinking a little lower, a bit more comfortably into her back.

She was grateful for the sound of the flags. Their thick fabric snapped with the wind, and closing her eyes, the sound took her to the middle of that flock of macaws from Costa Rica. She called to mind their vibrant and fluid colors, tried to hang on to them when she opened her eyes to the voracious white.

She glanced at her watch. It had been fifteen minutes. She decided she’d brave her room again. She had to get up in six hours.

Thankfully, they were finished. After Amy slipped under the covers, she realized she’d waited too long. Her room rocked with Lance’s snores.

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