Sunday, 29 July 2007


It strikes me as odd that after two months, all I am feeling is mild irritation. What should be clouding my view is some kind of red mist; at the very least, I should be slightly aghast at your sense of entitlement.

"God, I've missed you." Your voice almost a whisper, I have to strain to hear above the sound of the cappuccino being made for the pin-striped cliché at the counter, shaking the rain from his umbrella.

What's going through my head is "Someone will have to clean that up" but what comes out instead is "You knew where I was."

"I know."

The silence that aches to be filled with variations on but it's difficult and it's hard to get away and you knew my situation when you met me lingers in the air like a penny waiting to drop.


I put my hand over the top of my cup as the refill approaches attached to a teenaged girl in a black uniform.

"No, thank you - I've had enough."

I wonder how many times she's encountered this scene in the short course of her working life, and whether the voyeuristic opportunity makes up for the minimum wage.

"I haven't," you say, pushing your cup towards her without looking away, holding my gaze in the palm of your hand.

She pours, and I study your face through the steam, attempting to pick out the lie that doesn't appear to be there. Look at the eyes - isn't that what they say? It always reaches the eyes, but all I see is impossibly pale green, piercing in its devastating beauty, the hook that reeled me in now a luminescent sea of I want and I need and I'm sorry, I should have called.


"I wasn't expecting you. Today, I mean. Here. Why are you here?"

Because you are the itch that has always needed to be to be scratched?

"They invited me." I nod in the direction of 'them', as if I need to clarify. "I wanted to catch up. Maybe I shouldn't have come."

'They' are at a separate table, discreetly burying their curiosity in paperwork and coffee as you shake your head, slowly, resolutely.

"No. I'm glad you came. I've been wanting to see you."

Then why didn't you?

Knowing that they already know somehow makes it more shocking when you lean across the table to steal a first public kiss. Soft, delicate, impossibly quick, chaste, even; the stark contrast with what has gone before seeming completely alien.

"Come with me. Tomorrow. I've got a couple of days..."

Because I have never been able to say 'I'm leaving', or maybe because actions speak louder than words, I reach out to grab the bill and your hand moves swiftly to cover mine, as if tracing feather-light strokes of your thumb across my palm could keep me here. The crease that forms at the corner of your eye lets me know that the hitch in my breath has not gone unnoticed.



Outisde, I lean against the wall as the traffic rushes past, the moisture in the air cooling the flush in my cheeks. In for a count of four, out for a count of five. I flip open my phone, scrolling through the numbers for the one I know will ask no questions.

"Can I borrow your sat nav?" I say, after dispensing with sufficient niceties to still be considered polite. "Just for a couple of days?"

"Sure. Where are you going - somewhere good?"

I pull the crumpled piece of paper from my pocket and take in the handwritten address.

"Honestly?" I ask, and I realise the person I am questioning is not the one on the end of the line. "I have absolutely no idea."


An Unreliable Witness said...

The only thing wrong with this post is the title. Because this is the least random thing I have read in ... well, for ages.

Completely and utterly mesmerising.

Ness said...

Your writing is amazing - I've just been leaning into the computer screen. As the above comment said, mesmerising.

Ariel said...

If the end destination is random, the encounter and the ensuing writing aren't. Much like you were reeled in by the green eyes, we were reeled in by the story...

bohémienne said...


Beautifully written. You pulled me in. I felt all of the need, all of the uncertainty.

Miss Vertigo said...

With apologies for my tardiness, thank you all for your lovely comments. I'm very humbled! And very glad you enjoyed it.

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