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There was an ugliness in his touch. The kind that spoke volumes about his personality. His love wasn’t freeing. It bordered suffocation. She excused herself; she ran wildly, quickly into somebody else’s arms. She couldn’t avoid the return journey, though. His touch grew colder with bitterness, rougher with the bottled anger for he knew her ways. His love was limiting her. She was stifling him. She ran and he took her back. The unspoken tensions wrecked their intimacy. Yet, they grasped tightly to their notion of love.

‘I want to be free,’ she conceded.

‘You are free,’ he said, ‘free to be with anyone you want.’ His face grew small for his large body as he forced the words from his lips.

‘This isn’t freedom. There is an expectation to return. Hope that lingers in your dark eyes when I leave,’ she said.

‘You are free,’ he said, ‘to sleep with whomever you want.’

His touch grew uglier. Her ways, however, didn’t change. She was unsatisfied, he thought. She was bound to go off course.

‘It is in my nature,’ she said. A justification or an excuse?

‘You are free,’ he repeated. Mindlessly to calm himself.

The words lost their meaning.

Then, she couldn’t stand his touch anymore. It was filled with regret.