by Galloway

She was always alone, even when she wasn't working. At the end of an afternoon spent sitting idly at the coffee shop lingering over her solitary cup of cappuccino dwelling on the lives of characters in a book she would walk over to the movie theatre where she worked in the isolated realm of the projection booth. The theatre showed art house films, foreign movies with subtitles, strange and remarkable fare. Fare that went relatively unnoticed by the people she would watch, filling the empty hours of her days until she could retreat to the small room with its whirring cameras and she could lose herself in the darkness punctuated only by the phosphorescent light of the screen visible through the small window of the booth.

She lived to imagine herself inside the stories unfolding on the screen. The movie that she threaded through the teeth and gears of the camera was unpopular, even among the small crowds that frequented the theatre. She had to admit that even she had difficulty losing herself in its story line. But it had one saving grace: it had one of the most beautiful and erotic love scenes she had witnessed in a long time. Silent, in her little cell, like a cloistered nun, she would wait for that moment in the movie. The characters, a man and a woman would meet, and make love through a veil of yellow silk. The diaphanous partition hiding one from the other, a flimsy barrier through which they would touch, and without touching incite each other to rapture. She watched how the woman's body was caressed by phantom hands made golden by the soft cloth between her and her lover, the way his fingertips moved behind their delicate wall. She would watch how she would stroke his body in turn, the friction of the silk against his flesh making him throw back his head and cry out. It was only a movie, but in the long shadows of the empty theatre, she was the woman behind the scrim, her hands limned in golden light, bringing her phantom lover to his peak, over and over again.

No, the movie had few viewers beyond herself in her lonely cloister; none in fact, save one. One evening, as she watched the lovers again and began to dream that it was her breast being suckled through the veil of silk, she heard an unfamiliar sound, that of a breath caught and held, then issuing forth in a sigh. Stilling herself, she leaned forward, and looked out the small window into the seats below, scanning the aisles and sighted the shadow of a head leaning back against the seat. The pale golden light from the screen limned his face like a halo. His eyes half closed, mouth open, his posture the mirror image of the man on the screen. For the first time in a long time she stopped paying attention to the lovers lost in each other on the screen, and lost herself in watching the solitary member of the audience. She heard the sound of the metal teeth of a zipper uncatching, and the delicate rasp of his hand against his engorged flesh. Pressing herself close to the wall, she watched as his free hand stroked the side of his own face, mimicking the touch of the woman on the screen, the ghost of a yellow silk curtain reflected in his half lidded eyes. Almost without knowing it her own hand found its way inside her blouse, thin fingers caressing the hardening nipple in time to the movement of the man on the screen. The phantom feel of silk on her bare skin, her eyes never leaving the face of the man enraptured and enthralled below.

Almost in the periphery of her senses, memory filling in places where her sight was trapped on the lone man below her, the couple on the screen moved closer to each other, the partition of golden silk no longer a true barrier to their desire. Her hand dipped lower, into the waistband of her slouchy pants, under the elastic of her panties to the liquid fire between her thighs. She stroked her swelling sex in time to the man whose half lit face was half turned toward the projection room window, his breath catching up short, his hands invisible to her but not idle in the space between them. As the golden light within her body fused with the nimbus on the screen, she heard herself gasp as the man in the audience moaned, nearly drowned by the sound of the next reel clicking into place.

All of the next day she was agitated, nervous with anticipation to return to her post in the projection booth. Wondering if her lone audience member would return again to share with her the brief moments of rapture afforded by the imaginary lovers lost yet meeting, separated by the barrier of a silk curtain the way they were separated by the short distance between the theatre floor and the projection room. As she hurried to the stairs to enter her cell, the manager of the theatre told her that this film had only three more nights left to run. The theatre was empty of patrons, all save one: not enough to keep this movie much longer. She could barely hear him through the thunder in her blood as he told her about the next feature being shipped, how many reels, how she would need to be there to accept delivery of the steel cases. Three more nights to watch the ghosts of love on the screen, three more nights to watch for him, to be joined with him, if only in fantasy. She threaded the projector, dimmed the lights, and settled in to wait.

He attended that night's show, and the next, each night she would watch him lose himself in the ecstasy of the lovers on the screen. Each night she would join him on his solitary journey. The closing night of the movie, as she sat, waiting for the lovers to appear, bathed in golden light, she heard him rise from his seat. Looking out of the projection room window she could see him standing in the main aisle, alone in the empty theatre, his body haloed by the shimmering light on the screen as the lovers began to touch through the wall of yellow silk. He lifted his head toward the window, and she thought she saw the edges of a smile. She watched as his long hands began to move slowly over his body, stroking the planes of his chest, the smooth expanse of his thigh. She felt herself responding as if it was her body he was caressing, not his own. She watched as he drew down the zipper of his pants, freeing his erection to the dim glow of the theatre, the silken light bathing him like the first rays of the sun.

Alone, in her cloister, she watched as his hands moved to cup himself, stroke the length of the shaft slowly, offering himself up to her vision. Her hands began to move over her own flesh, nails lightly tracing the designs in the silk on the screen on her own body, the whisper of cloth as she slowly gathered her skirt higher, her own hands between her legs, following his in time, cupping the golden warmth that dampened the swelling lips, slick with moisture, full and ripe for the taking. She watched his face reflecting the light on the screen, lips parted as though for a kiss, his hands moving in their inexorable rhythm on his own skin. In the back of her mouth she could taste the sweat glistening on his neck, feel the warmth of his body, the thick hardness of him filling her. The silk swirling in the edges of her sight, she was wrapped in its luxuriant folds, feeling his hands moving over her, the band of desire connecting them as surely as a single rapturous kiss. Lids falling softly over her eyes she felt the rush of heat in her veins as her senses opened wide to the touch of the silk, the shimmer of golden light penetrating through her body as she heard him moan as his own culmination fused him into her sphere.

When she opened her eyes again and looked out into the theatre, it was empty. The reel clicked over, and the next scene began, leaving her to remember the golden light that filled the theatre passing through them both, wrapping them in a veil of yellow silk.


About myself: What do you really want to know about a former Catholic schoolgirl who writes stories like this? What flavor of ice cream that I like? I read de Sade and giggle, I read the paper and weep. You figure it out.

email Galloway

Projection © 2002 by Galloway






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