• Vol. 10
  • Chapter 12
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Keeping an Eye

You are still my weighing scale. I hang decisions on you to see if they’ll float or sink. You hand them back to me, light as daisy chains, each step of your logic threaded onto the next. “I’ll be keeping an eye on you,” you’d said, the laugh in your voice already an echo. I place my leaden heart onto your palm, and you blow ‘til it fragments into dandelion wishes, soaring free. You lead me through unruly fields towards the mossy summit. You leave gates open. I fret about livestock escaping but you touch your finger to my lips ‘shhh’ and the cows, who were barely interested anyway, go back to munching.

The town below pockets out beyond our bare feet, unzipping night’s slumber along the doorways of the High Street. There’s the sparrow-beaked florist. There’s the butcher, who you vowed to never visit again. Who flung a string of his Best Lincolnshire sausages across the shop floor after you complained his scales were imprecisely calibrated for bring-your-own containers. From here we can see the morning huddle outside the bakery. Gone to a better place they’d said, their voices spiked with sugar. They saw only your difference. They didn’t see your galvanising possibility. Nor how you steamed through the dutiful congregation that day, bathed in a blaze of purpose, flouncing across autumn-braised tussocks like a creature as yet uncategorised.

They told me I wouldn’t be able to cope. That I should find somewhere more suitable. But why would I leave you after so many years of waiting?

I wear you lightly these days, a crown of daisies on a diminishing haze of hair. “Are those sausages?” you ask. “They might be,” I say. You hmph a bit but you’ve mellowed with the years. All the same, I wrap them in a napkin


Keeping an Eye

and tuck them away for later, until I’m sure you have fallen fully asleep. With both eyes closed.