Run with scissors
Ink your beloved’s name across your heart
Swim with sharks
Know that it may go wrong (but it may go right – who knows…)
Like the independent girl my mother raised me to become, I’m
eager to take the next step – because why wait? –
and so I pop the question.
please say yes
Chameleon-like, you blend into the party, flit from conversation to conversation.
Always asking question, probing, listening.
Many people talk to you, none remember you a minute later.
Only I watch.
Until it’s my turn to feel the force of your attention and I forget what I’ve witnessed.
Forget the reason I’m here in the first place.
Lie to me, make be believe my anecdotes are funny.
Ask me anything, then hang on my every word.
Give me your full attention. Yes, I’ll wait for you to return.
Eventually, after you’ve gone with what you wanted, I emerge from your spell.
‘Make me happy, like you used to,’ she demands. As if it’s my fault. As if she hasn’t played her part.
‘After all these years, shouldn’t you know what you have to do?’ I know what I have to do alright. I don’t want to do it is all.
‘Go. Just go.’
‘I will,’ I say. Comes out strangled. If I stay any longer, I’ll let her talk me round again. Wouldn’t do either of us any good.
‘Cheers for nothing,’ she shouts after me, the woman turning from present into past who once was the girl holding my future.
I think limericks aren’t my thing.
Don’t judge me ‘cos, hey, I’m trying.
I like haiku
and acrostics, too.
But I’d better stay clear of rhyming.
Smiling like a new moon, eyes sparkling like stars, she refuses to speak her lines and
Turns away from him. Away from the argument. She’s never turned away from an argument. She makes the move so fluidly it looks like she’s rehearsed it.
An eternity of three seconds later, while her scent lingers, she’s exited stage right and he knows, in his bones, she will not come back, not even for a curtain call.
Gifts left behind like props that have served their purpose, aided her performance – perfume, scarves, diamond earrings –
Everything he did, discarded, unwanted.
Discarded, unwanted like him.
Is it a story? Is it a poem? Does it matter? Do you like it?
‘Jeez, Louise, chill. It’s just a bit of banter, nothing serious.’
Easy for Jake to say. Mind, he has to back Pete, they’ve known each other forever.
And when Pete and I started going out, Jake became my friend, too.
‘Lou, let’s have a dance.’ Jake takes my hand.
‘Okay.’ I let him pull me to the dance floor.
Underworld’s Born Slippy comes on – time for our special silly moves.
Sod Pete and his flirting, I’m going to have fun.
You know, some nights I wonder if I picked the wrong friend. Tonight, I wonder if Jake thinks so, too.
(Seriously, did you? Answers in the comments, please.)
Beach almost in sight, I take a deep breath. Forget the past two hours.
Life is so much better when I can see the sky.
I take a bite of apple.
Savour the juicy sweetness.
Sun’s decided to join me. I tilt my head upwards, soak up the warmth.
My ten minutes are over.
I return to the bunker.
Shiver under the strip lights.
Exit signs mock me: ‘You really want to do this?’
Really? No. But do I have a choice?
Yearning for the next break, I pick up the headset and call the first number in the queue.