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  • Writer's pictureAnon

The Secret Life Of... A Museum Worker in London

Summer, 2019.

I was 21, old enough to know better but, young enough to make decisions for the plot.

His name was Felix. He was the tallest man I'd ever met, distantly related to the King, and he carried himself in that way that only those kinds of men can. All of his jumpers needed to be mended, holes in the elbows. He talked about philosophy and described anal sex like caviar: Something you enjoy having every now and then, but it's a delicacy best saved for special occasions.

We were both students, working at the museum to pay off credit card debt accrued from too many bottles of wine and expensive taste in clothes. I'd noticed him when I joined, our shifts rarely aligning in the early months of 2019. I didn't join in when others discussed his beauty, feeling like if I didn't, I could keep it to myself, like a secret.

As the temperature rose, our shifts became synced with the increase of spare time we had. We spent our time together on the floors, walking amongst paintings that had seen a thousand versions of us. I read books I thought would impress him, drank clear spirits and wore short skirts. We talked about what we thought would happen after we died whilst we smoked cigarettes on our break. He told me about his family, his childhood, his Dad that had never hugged him or told him he was proud of him.

One Friday, the one day a week we both worked until almost midnight, our breaks fell early enough to see the sunset on our walk to the bar, late enough for us to feel like we were sneaking in after dark when we got back - fifty minutes and four vodkas later. We stumbled back into the basement office, giggling like a couple of teenagers, he took my hand and pulled me into him, pushed the door closed then pressed me against it. He kissed me with a desperation I've rarely enjoyed since.

That was the first time he fucked me. Weeks of yearning, pent up suspense and erotic tension, released after a few drinks and a late shift. After that, it became a game. We fucked in the bathroom of the members-only area, we fucked in the small galleries, the ones you only visit when it's raining and you don't want to spend any more money but you're in the museum now so you might as well. We fucked in the auditorium, minutes after a lecture finished. We were reckless in more ways than one.

Looking back on it, I'm surprised no one knew. Or at least, if they did, no one ever let on.

If you asked me to explain why we stopped fucking, I couldn't tell you. We just, stopped. As we sunk further into autumn and my mini dresses were swapped out for boots and flares, we stopped pulling each other into dark spaces. Our texts stopped being logistics for late-night rendezvous and instead became dinner plans, daytime walks and gallery openings. We went back to coffees instead of cocktails and sharing books instead of sharing glances. We shared beds and secrets and carried on being friends. We went for long walks by the Thames and he wrapped me in his arms when I said I was cold and I didn't feel anything but love, and somehow didn't think anything of it.

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