When @JadeAWaters tweeted her list of words that she loved a few weeks ago, I was surprised to see how many of them were medical or scientific words – amoeba, pancreas, prophylactic, parasite, collagenous. It reminded me how words can have different resonances depending on their context. I am a scientist of sorts so I don’t see the pleasure in these words anymore. I see prophylactic, I don’t see the word, I see its meaning. It is my life – have you prescribed the VTE prophylaxis, have you considered a prophylactic antibiotic? To me, these words are every day and functional.
Seeing them in her list and their inclusion alongside other more traditionally beautiful words, I suddenly realised how much I was missing out when I see the meaning and not the beauty of the word itself. The linguistically Romantic etymology of scientific words in Latin or Greek is quite wonderful, and I’m happy to be reminded of that. I can now smile to myself when I pronounce these utilitarian words, perhaps enjoying discussions about amoebic parasites of the pancreas more than the topic would suggest…although, thank God, I don’t think these really exist and my day job rarely involves anything that disgusting anyway!
So I really had to choose another scientific word for Exhibit A’s flash fiction challenge – Myopia, the medical term for short-sightedness…
It was not just the darkness that had obscured her vision. She lay in the large bed and looked around her, trying to distinguish new shapes within her familiar surroundings.
He had taken her glasses…
She had worn them since she was a teenager, resisting the draw of contact lenses because she had got used to framing her eyes within their structure. Besides, she quite enjoyed lowering her glasses and fluttering her eyelashes suggestively over them. She’d yet to meet a man without a librarian fantasy…although that perhaps said more about her choice of man!
But her short-sightedness, her myopia, was crippling. Without her glasses, everything had become blurry and indistinct, like a veil had been pulled over her eyes. The distance became unreal and she could no longer tell what was in the shadows.
He knew she would feel vulnerable. He knew why she rarely went without her glasses – the risk of getting lost in a familiar place or blanking friends was too high. He knew that she never felt truly naked while wearing them, and never felt more exposed without them. He knew that by taking her glasses, he had made her nervous despite their intimate history. And he liked that.
He also knew that lack of distance focus caused her close sight to become sharper and brighter. He knew that when he moved in towards her, her eyes were able to focus again. He knew that when he was close enough to kiss her, close enough that his nose almost grazed her cheek, then she could really see him. She could see the fine lines around his eyes that lengthened when he smiled, the curl of his dark eyelashes, and the small freckles on his temples. She never looked at him as closely as she did then, never saw him as clearly. These details were hers, her scrutiny was intoxicating. And he loved that.
She could see his shape looming above her now. Her mind saw the curves of his chest and the strength of his arms, even if her eyes could not. His shadowy outline moved closer and, in the blur, she imagined the smile that she heard in his laugh, imagined the glint in his eyes as he looked down at her.
Jumping slightly at the contact, she gasped as he placed his hand on her leg, the definite certainty of his skin against hers sent shivers through her. His fingers gently walked up her inner thigh, tormenting her with the lightest of touches until she was begging for more. But he kept his distance, kept out of clear sight. She reached out in his direction, fumbling for him as he sat between her legs. Her outstretched hand grazed his cheek and he took her fingers into his mouth, sucking and biting at their tips while his own fingers slipped inside her. She moaned with pleasure and arched her back into him, the insistent pressure of his curved, moving fingers echoing the wet warmth of his mouth and overwhelming her.
And suddenly, there he was, with his face close to hers and his weight pressing down the full length of her body. Finally, she was able to reach out to kiss him and their lips crashed together with their hunger for each other. Finally able to see him clearly, she drew back and began feathering kisses on his cheekbones, on his eyelids, on all of the small features that had been lost in the obscurity before. Her lips found the small scar just inside his hairline from a childhood injury and her fingers ran across his scalp, eliciting a groan of appreciation as she gripped his hair and pulled his face back towards her.
Her eyes widened as he shifted his body and slid his hard cock slowly into her waiting cunt. Without breaking eye contact, he teased her with the slightest movements, holding back from what he knew she craved. She bucked her hips upwards, wrapping her legs around him and forcing him deeper. From the nebulous shape that he seemed before, he was now all that she could see as her awareness of her surroundings shrunk still further. Now, there was nothing but his body against hers, his breath in her ear, and his mouth on her skin as they moved together with greater speed and urgency.
What her myopic eyes couldn’t see no longer mattered…