We meet at a place called the Fox and Anchor in Barbican. It’s not far from Jenna’s (and formerly my) gym, and she comes with her bag and trainers. She is sitting in front of a morose glass of red wine, and that’s kind of sweet from her.
“You want to come?” It’s the sudden question Lennard posits me while chopping some leek.
“I… where?” I take time, even if I’ve understood what he means.
“To the new year’s party. Unless you have other plans” Zeke intromits. Bastard.
Lennard is looking at me. He knows I don’t have other plans.
She scoured her whole denim dress, to understand where the unbearable itching was coming from.
Theresa thought she had no time for that, so she just smiled.
I was alone; yet safe.
That’s what I thought until the noise of something moving in the bushes reached my ears.
Someone, as I detected cadenced footsteps.
(Excerpt from a soon to be published short story)
She had to come across town.
She had to walk out her door, pass by the sport shop she once bought some stupid protein powder, she needed to mirror herself in a window full of jewellery, cross the road in fear of the homeless man yelling at his dragging feet. She had to listen to four songs for fifteen minutes and ten seconds, the last word being “you”, the last piece so pleasing yet versatile to deserve a place in her 2020, Karaoke beasts, and Running playlists.
She needed to feel dizzy and stop for a soda from the conveniece store. She had to prefer the zebra over the underpass. She had to stop on a bench in the park even if her uncompromising workout scheme could not allow that.
But she needed to be there.
Looking up, towards the sun filtering through the leaves of the same, yet different, tones of green. A single ray escaped that flexible gate, landing over her naked arm.
So much light.
Who wanted to witness that amount of flesh? Surely, not her.
She strived. She bit her lips, immagining blood flooding out of them, the amount of matter she desired to get rid of.
She had her eyes closed. The roaring cars in the background, the sweeping dead leaves, her saliva descending her throat.
Then, she had not moved.
It got me wondering.
But I asked nothing;
I remained silent.
As I needed to hear-
the claws creeping,
the air caressing,
the leaves widening.
And while I was laying down, frantically,
on the softest of the pillows,
your footsteps approaching,
your whispers rising,
and your ocean eyes tiding over-
Inspiration from Tom Disch
He pushed the plate in front of her. It was beautiful, she thought: the brims graced with blue paint, swirls merging and forming into branches and leaves and flowers.
And its inside was equally pretty: the perfectly squared corners, the toasted egg yolk condensed between the spinach and goat cheese veinings, of the slice of quiche resting peacefully on the white ceramic.
She looked up at his eyes, which were commanding what he said politely.
The empty room around them, her figure bending over the table, diving into her own personal cruciation. She fluctuated the full fork in the air before trapping between her hesitant lips.
The unrequested carbs and unsaturated and saturated fats and iron and potassium and Vitamin B’s and calcium descended in her stomach, and she sensed–
Twinkle, twinkle, little star, How I wonder how long is far! Has your light be stolen or what, Whilst my eyelids down they shut? Tinkle, crinkle, little star, Shake that dust off your scars, Have they ever, ever yelled at you, "Who am I talking to?!" Whittle, sprinkle, little star, Sow the pledges of a racing car, Of a marriage that finally ends, Of a show that never commences. Tremble, brittle, little star, Don't fall now, stay where you are, It's your light I cannot bear, All my skin of you is aware. Now pause your whims, little star I swear, this time I'll pause mine, And to this night again I'll sleep just fine.