Dummy

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“Go on with what?” I ask.

“Our first kiss,” she grins, “tell me about it.”

Letting Hachikō guide us along, I hold Meeko close.

“You should know, you were there.”

“Don’t be facetious,” she says, “I want you to tell me how it made you feel.”

“You know how it made me feel because you ask me the same question at least once a week.”

Huffing, she sticks out her bottom lip.

“But I guess there’s no harm in telling you again, is there?”

“Exactly,” she says, rejuvenated.

As we follow the dog’s lead, we move away from the high street down an alley taking us to a courtyard I’ve never before seen. The place is home to several Chinese restaurants and a mix of convenience and liquor stores, not to mention a small area of green where a tall oak tree touches the sky. Its branches reach for it like outstretched arms, and upon them sit a host of birds. Magpies, mostly, and a few rough-looking pigeons eyeing the ground for food. As we walk into view, they watch us intently. Hachikō, noticing them immediately, lets out a series of barks, but they’re none too bothered and go back to watching the world go by from high up.

“I guess it all started when I saw you stood across the street that wet and windy afternoon.”

Shaking her head, she releases herself from my arms.

“Don’t give me that,” she says before puffing out her cheeks.

“Don’t give you what?”

“You and your revisionist history.”

Smiling at her as she scowls at me, I brush the hair from her eyes, swept there by a gentle breeze.

“It’s not revisionist, just my version of it.”

“That’s revisionist, dummy.”

“Hmm.”

“You met me at work, for a start, and our first kiss was after you walked me back home to mine one night a few weeks later.”

“Was it snowing?” I ask.

“No, it was raining.”

“Hmm.”

“I know it’s your job to make stuff up, what with you being a writer and all, but I wish you wouldn’t get lost inside your head as much as you do. Sometimes, I don’t know where you are at all.”

“I could’ve sworn it was snowing when we first kissed.”

“It is in your latest version of us, the one you’ve been using in your writing.”

“Oh,” I reply.

“I want the truth, though. Not your version of it, but the real truth. Can you remember it?”

Focusing hard, all I see are footprints in fresh snow.

X and I: A Novel and A Journal for Damned Lovers on Amazon UK

X and I: A Novel and A Journal for Damned Lovers on Amazon US

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