Something about Sophie. A piece to detail how fleeting she was. Those blood-red gums. Those eyes that grew so wide at the mysteries that awaited her in London. Write about the curls of her hair. Write about sheltering from the rain under market stalls and her refusal to kiss me because of my cold on the bus journey home. The staff Christmas party in a pizza restaurant one Saturday evening. There were many people, and she was sat directly opposite me, beautiful in her black tights and dress. After food, we made our way to a bar. Flirting amidst the flowing alcohol, we pretended it didn’t matter. Knowing looks to keep the tigers at bay, she confessed she fancied me, and it made my chest ache with wonder. The walk back to the train station was quick; only I’ve forgotten this part. It must have happened, though, for there’s no other explanation. Taking her to one side just before we arrived, I got what I wanted. Making out beneath scaffolding with hands that couldn’t control themselves, the moment is etched into my heart, and somewhere out there, it still exists, for I’ve felt it calling to me in the early hours of the morning ever since. The feel of her hips, and the taste of her grinning lips. The random girl kissed at some house party on New Years Eve. The guilt. The shame. The puking up through anxiety in the same pizza place a few days later. Drawings of animals. Silver ballet pumps. Her grace as I took the first steps to alienation. Infidelity and alcoholism. Two devils on my shoulder that whisper when no one is looking. Plague lovers. Drawings of Andy Warhol and books dedicated to the golden limbs of pornography. Sushi bars. So much sushi even though it upset my stomach. Topless paintings and a lone photograph of hidden desires that has stood the test of time despite all else. There’s melancholy, plenty of it. Sepia nightscapes too, and cigarette smoke that sheltered her from my still restless hands. A hundred nights unaccounted for, and I’ve no idea what happened to them. Ghosts one to four. Elizabeth for a middle name, and a taste for all things exotic that looked so good through the lens of a camera. She disappeared sometime after, and the following seasons were lost in the daze of wars internal. Redemption sought but never obtained. The same old mistakes; the same horrors that keep creeping. Seven years. It’s neither here nor there. There have been plenty since, and the seeds of my downfall have grown in abundance. They’ve grown each day. But there’s a beginning to everything and a spark that ignites all that follows. It acts as a signal even after all this time.