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Wednesday 12 November 2014


Feelings never go away. They are cat paws in cement.  Some nights, they chase you down and mug you.

The lights through a train window flicker back years. You are running out of the pub in a purple blue hippy dress. ‘You don’t care,’ are the words crushed under a falling wall of tears; letters left to hang in the air like a child’s floating balloon tied to my dumb head. I’m sitting alone, fingering a cracked glass. Even its slice of lemon is shrivelled, gin-less.

All I remember was, you said you were going to do a PhD, and I replied – ‘oh, on what?’  It was the broken spell; the moment a thread that held our hearts ripped.  What - what - what.... Oh.

 I got up to follow.  Like the film we were in expected something. You’d run across the road, weaving into the crowd beneath the city castle, until your dress blurred into too many colours to distinguish a presence. I thought, if I could reach you now, could we go back to the beginning? Do it all again, without crossings out? In the street at night, by a grilled shop-front, hugged together to the touch of cold metal – that was the moment.

The sky begins to rain.  Outside the pub, someone I don’t even know is weeping  under a grey hoodie.   ‘Fuck you,’ I hear them say.  Their face lifts, with eyes so burnt with red, it’s as though someone has scooped them out infront of me.  

I watched myself walk home, like when I was so small, I watched myself watching someone hit someone else  - in front of me.   I found a distance to be outside my body, so whatever happened to me, in that moment, I wouldn't be there to be hurt by it.  Maybe that's why the feeling keeps coming back. Because it couldn't get me. And it wants to, each time someone cries and looks at me, it wants to. The hit; you running away. The hit; you running away.  Under the tears, the eyes keep saying ‘Fucking fuck you.’

We used to take the hand-outs at the back of the lecture hall, slip out to play pool, plot mad schemes, dance by the riverside, listen to Bob Marley with the phone pulled out from the wall.  Jammin. You seemed so happy when you got your son back. We’d present him to the crèche in the morning, the worst parents in the world as he wailed the endless snaking bus journey through tutting stares. It was when you had to give him back, all the drugs started.  ‘You don’t mind,’ you asked, explaining how you’d moved in with the dealer. We were eating soggy lasagne in your room, in front of the TV news so no one could hear us say nothing.  When we met in the corridor, a week afterwards, I didn’t breathe a word. I wanted to pretend that I couldn’t feel anything at all.  'I've hurt you,' you offered, trying  to hunt my gaze; but I shook my head, lost in the peel of paint on a rusting radiator.

It’s the purple blue dress I remember the most: the one she wore when we were happy with each other. I hadn’t seen her wear it again, before that last day atthe pub.  It's always running away from me in my mind. A moth that won’t stop haunting the lampshade with tears.
A few years later, when I was emptying a room, I discovered a beautiful green frog. I meant to give the smiley face to him but he vanished before I ever had the chance. I took it to the charity shop. 'Please,' I asked, 'make sure someone good gets this.' A last touch of velvet left my hands with love.

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