With a heave and a grunt, she bends her knees and jumps into the air. Her lanky arms wrap around the branch above us, and with the nimble agility of a cat, she pulls herself up. As she does so, Hachikō licks and slobbers over her face. This annoys her considerably, as Hachikō still has the scent of fish guts and sick on his breath, but she doesn’t lose her temper. Instead, she balances herself and pats him on the head. She then calls him a swear word, but in the most affectionate of ways. It’s one of her Japanese ones; something I’ve not previously heard, or been called. Not to my knowledge, anyhow. The sky is pale. Not as pale as the moon, but not far off. The stars that were barely visible before we began climbing are now glistening diamonds the size of coins. They twinkle like the neon signs that populate the horizon, which is gradually becoming a buzzing hive of bright light and distorted sound. I can’t say I’ve ever noticed the signs before—spent too much of my time walking the streets head down—but from up high, they look most beautiful. There are many things I’ve never noticed before of which I’ve discovered from this new vantage point of mine. There are many thoughts it has planted in my mind. These thoughts have branched off to many others, and like the leaves that surround me, they have blossomed in abundance.

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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