• Vol. 08
  • Chapter 09


Sometimes I forget you are not here.

I never forget on days like this, though, when the sky is a stupefying blue and a pale chicken walks across my garden. I lay out pasta shaped like dainty bow ties, faultless apples, blackberry wine, leftover pot pie. I sit alone and feast.

The hours are gentle, even dull, far from that electric stretch we spent on the internet, those many months of being radiant with outrage, believing we had to be offended by everything, demanding that famous people apologise to us, perform for us. I got sick of it eventually, didn't I? Then you said reverse sanctimony was still sanctimony, only with less polished teeth, and then I got up and threw things. You watched me with the abiding sangfroid of a person who understood madness, especially when I smashed the framed prints. I knew I'd done too much, yet I didn't stop.

We circled each other in the living room. Or rather, I circled you, breathing fast while you barely moved. I said you didn't know me well. I said you didn't know me at all. Your 'okays' were calm at first, then over-contained. And that was what annoyed me most: your deceptive assent, your refusal to unbutton yourself and argue with me. Even the warm light from the window became an irritant. What right did it have to be so warm? I went upstairs and took my passport, my favourite shoes, my stepmother's gold. You didn't speak when I opened the front door.

Now two large men face me, one with a guitar, the other an accordion. I don't care for their music - it's a little too sombre, a little too slow - but I'd rather listen to it than keep humming that old lyric you adore: This world has only one sweet moment set aside for us. I've been trying for weeks, but I can't remember whether it's from a song by The Rolling Stones or Queen.



There's no internet here, so there's nowhere to check. Maybe this is the point. Maybe I'm not supposed to remember the song. Maybe I'm not supposed to remember anything. My stepmother used to say memory is the true enemy of peace.

But still I sit in this clean town by the sea, this town of cool green lawns and kettles that whistle until dawn. Still I sit with glittery threads of want under my skin, waiting for you to join me.