Barely Twenty


The guy in the store knows me and my drinking habits quite well. He never comments, just gives a nod and double bags what I’ve got. He’s handsome enough, but a cleft lip has left him with a crippling sense of self-awareness that hasn’t shifted even into his fourth decade. Not that he’s ever told me this—I don’t even know his name—but I can tell by the look in his eye that it’s something he can’t shake no matter what. I can also tell that he fantasises about vulnerable young women on their knees, pushing their tits together with their tongues sticking out like rabid dogs. Barely twenty, brunette, and eager to please. Most likely daddy issues. Definitely daddy issues. Certainly artistic. Autistic? Yeah, on the spectrum for sure. Many colours. Many sounds. Shaved between the legs but not under the arms. Should know better but can’t. When he hands me the good stuff, I feel bad for him and yet I know his perverse thirst will keep him warm through the night. Perhaps one day he’ll find his little girl. I hope for his sake, and hers, it’s a game they both wish to play. From the corner of my lazy eye, I can see him staring into space no doubt thinking about what it would be like to urinate on some unfortunate. A homeless child I bet or a modern slave passed around on the suburbs of town the same as a joint between friends. I’m sure there’s a word for wishing to piss on someone. Something long and unspellable. My wine will take me to many places, and yet not the bus station at the end of the block. It’s not yet built. Won’t be for another three years. There are memories. There are women. This strangeness won’t ever leave me. It wraps me up like a babe in arms, and like a babe in arms, I struggle for air as the world turns regardless. Those girls, though. Those nipples. Mountainous, and like leaves. Brown eyes. Earthy. Secret like the streets that know our names even though we know nothing about them except the way they tempt us in the early hours of the morning when we’re fumbling for love the same as the keys in our pockets.

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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