Zero Plus One
Zero leaned against the wall, taking comfort from its resistance. He sipped his drink, as he watched a group of guests saunter by.
People laughed and joked. Some men eyed the females like prey, others, as though admiring cars in a motor show. They continued to meander across the hall, viewing their options among the women, some standing or comfortably settled on the chairs and settees scattered around the room. Concentrating on potential males, they ran their tongues along their lips, lowered their décolletés and hiked up their skirts as much as their sitting positions and postures allowed. Their eyes and gestures communicated in carnal language while they exchanged casual words in the spoken tongue.
The thrill of their own past escapades still vivid in their memories, married couples split up. Eager to share the excitement of mating overtures between the free males and females, they joined small groups.
Zero eyed them with disdain. They were like animals in the jungle, searching for suitable sex partners. I see them, they don’t see me. Not knowing why he had agreed to attend another one of Sarah’s crazy parties, he wished he were one of those aliens who could melt into the wall and vanish. As he put down his glass and decided to leave, a tall slim girl with short hair approached him.
“You look bored, ” she said, “fancy going out for a smoke?”
“I don’t smoke.”
“Does passive smoking bother you?”
“I quite enjoy it, actually.”
“In that case, let’s get some refills and escape.”
She took his hand and led him to the bar. After a top-up of malt for him and champagne for her, they strolled through the French doors onto the veranda and down the steps into the vast grounds of the house.
She settled on a white, wrought-iron chair and put her glass on the table. He sat facing her as she fumbled in her bag and took out a pack and a lighter.
She lit the cigarette, took a deep drag and exhaled, turning her head aside. Picking up her glass, she said, “Cheers, I’m One.”
“I’m Zero,” he said shyly. “Zero plus One is One. You have confirmed my sentiments. I am invisible.”
“Who says so? Zero plus One is Zero plus One. You’re not invisible. I could see you from the other end of the lounge.”
“Really? That’s surprising. I thought I didn’t exist.”
“You do.” She held his hand. “You’re real, flesh and bone.”
He placed his other hand on top hers and squeezed it gently. “Thanks, my otherwise ethereal particles must have materialized in your presence.”
“Very much so. Why Zero?”
“It’s just a nickname from university years. I guess it’s because I’m not as flamboyant as the rest. The sort of guy who melts into the background.”
“I was always The One, then I became One.”
“A strong presence?”
“Not so. Just helping, sharing, tying up the ends.”
“What a pair we’d make. Absent and present.” He chuckled and gazed into her eyes. Behind the clouds of smoke, shafts of moonlight danced across her face, making her mysterious and unearthly. A destination he wanted to explore.
“I’d like to read your story.”
“You already are. One plus Zero.”
Sebnem E. Sanders is a native of Istanbul, Turkey. Currently she lives on the Eastern shores of the Southern Aegean Sea where she dreams and writes Flash Fiction and Flash Poesy, as well as longer works of fiction. Her flash stories have been published on the Authonomy Blog, The Drabble, and SickLit Magazine. More information on her work can be found at her website: https://sebnemsanders.wordpress.com/ where she publishes some of her work.