He would come up to bed late, smelling of oranges, the street gone quiet. It wasn’t every night - sometimes the stink was just whisky - but it was often enough. I could feel him downstairs, if that makes any sense, leaned up against the kitchen counter, digging his blunt thumbs into Valencia navels he bought three pounds at a time in red mesh bags stretched out like cheap stockings. He was breathing heavily and needed a shave.
I knew how much he’d enjoy the way the fruit gave in, succumbed to his pressure. And in the morning, I would find juice sprayed across the granite. A minor but glittering eruption of citrus. That this was what he chose to do down there, alone in the dark, appalled me in ways I did and didn’t understand.
Sometimes when he finally arrived upstairs, he just crumpled and slept. But other times it was as if a complete stranger was trying to mug me in some Spanish alley.