On a balcony overlooking town, the steam from our cups of coffee obscures the faces of those walking below. It’s freezing. Our bones knock and jive. The alleys are swimming with trash. Amid the trash are bumbling heads staring at the ground on their way to the entrances of a hive of thrift stores—the kind you find by the sea selling tat that appeals only to those cast adrift by the game of life. On the leaves of stranded trees, tiny icicles reflect the glow of the cold sun. The sun lies low. My hands are cracked, as are my lips. Birds flap their wings trying to fly, but it’s so cold they retreat to their nests but their nests are gone and all they can do is roam in search of a home that sticks around a little longer next time. I could be in bed. I should be in bed. But when I spend my days in bed, I tend to vegetate—to stagnate—like a stale piece of bread. It’s why the piercing light of this freezing star now washes over me like the memory of my grandmother’s kiss bringing me back to life after falling off my bike. It was my fifth birthday, and I was barely alive yet already on the decline. Someone pinched the bike from the front porch of my old house. Life was never the same. Y’know, my grandmother has been dead for fourteen years. The older these bones grow, the further I drift into the realm of the obscure, miles from safety, miles from any shore. In all directions, the land expands as the sky breathes upon it some warmth, but then in a few hours, the winds will pick up again, and the hope of spring will slither back to where it came. The coffee tastes good, though. We smile as it hits our throats, splintering the greyness that is so overwhelming.

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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