Soapy Water

When it’s raining, and the streets fog behind my glasses, I pretend I’m back in the womb, or if not the womb, then eating mints in a pram in Lewsey Farm, with my nan pushing me along the pavement not realising that one day, the world would exist without either of us in it. If I close my eyes, her voice is crystal clear in my mind, along with that cheeky grin of hers and the smell of perfume and how it would linger in the air long after she had left the room. There are traces of her scattered all over my psyche, reminding me that not only did she exist, but she lived. As a mother. As a daughter. As a lover searching the land for something and someone to show her that all we see and feel isn’t in vain. And now I am the same. I eat the same mints I did when I was a kid, hoping to keep the magic alive for as long as possible before they cover my face with soil. You know, in the taxi back from work, I passed through a part of town where you now live. I haven’t been around these parts in years, not since we were dating. When the taxi slowed at a set of traffic lights, I peered at the skeletons of leaves covering a lawn and pictured you in the nude, immersed in a bath of soapy water. It felt like an age but was less than a minute. When the car picked up speed, the image of you lingered. Not just an image either, but a feeling. It seeped into my bones, like a song from the earliest days of my childhood playing on the radio of my mum’s car as she drove me to my grandparents’ house before school. You grew up not far from my great-grandmother. Perhaps, when you were a little girl, our paths crossed without us even realising. Maybe I first gazed into your eyes years before our time as lovers as I stood at a bus stop while you fled the local corner shop with a pocketful of stolen sweets. Life is mostly mundane, especially when you’re a dreamer. And yet, what a thing it is to cross paths with another troubled heart—with one who knows what it is to feel such sorrow.

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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