The Line That Separates Us


Greg is a shifting mass of flesh. He moves slowly and constantly and likes to press himself up against edges and surfaces. He is warm and this draws people and animals to him. He is warm and gelatinous and slips away easily if held in the wrong way. He is warm but he has always had cold feet and this draws Marcie to him and it draws him to Marcie. When they sleep in bed together, Greg would say to Marcie, ‘Marcie, my feet are cold. Can you press your feet against mine?’

‘But my feet are also cold’, Marcie would reply, ‘What good will that do? Then we would have two pairs of cold feet keeping themselves cold.’

‘But they will warm up.’

‘They never do, but that’s fine with me Greg.’

‘Then that’s fine with me too Marcie’.

Then they would fall asleep and Greg believes that the two pairs of feet that were always cold would keep themselves warm together all through the night.


Each day, the world appears as a blurred melding of colours to Marcie and she knows that it will eventually blur into a numb whiteness.

She was afraid, once, of losing herself inside this great white vacuum and envisioned herself as an ink blot in reverse on a blank sheet of paper.

She dedicated herself to remain lucid and distinct and she would sometimes awake as an outline, each contour of herself clearly defined as a black line. Her eyes open as a collision of ripples to find, not whiteness, but a room submerged in night. It is dark and she feels the coldness of Greg’s feet against hers. She has never known his face but she knows him as a shape called Greg.

She was afraid, once, of losing herself in his warm haze but she always remained in the shape of Marcie and this in turn meant that he stayed in the shape of Greg. Sometimes, they would overlap like shadows of the same figure under different lights, but they would always eventually emerge as the separate shapes, Marcie and Greg.

She blinks and her vision blurs again, but she can feel the cold feet of a shape called Greg against her. It is comforting, like a line that reassures her that one will not blur into the other and wander lost into that numb whiteness.



First published in “Lust & Panic” (2012) under Stern Collective


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