No one explained that best before was subjective at best. Instead they suggested that you were lucky to find a man willing to settle for spoiled produce so close to the sell by date. Did it occur to you the rot might be them?
I’m still getting used to this lion in my mouth. But sometimes the notion of seen and not heard still aches in my chest, despite the waterfall of words I seem to spout whenever my lips part. When you’re trying to stay silent, some times it helps if you cover up the abscene with something meaningless and hollow, like empty poetry. Laughter is also good. If you can laugh about it, it can’t of been so bad. But time can chip away at you if you let it. Too much silence can eat the soul of you completely. Not matter how small the seed. If we just don’t mention it, ignore it and carry on, then it’s not that big of a deal so why make a fuss. Women always make a fuss. At night I feel silly, walking with my car keys turned to the sharp edge of a key-chain, cold and hard against my palm Alone is when I think about the school corridor, his face …
They told me you were hard to puzzle out, a riddle wrapped in a conundrum. Like an onion, I would have to peel back the layers to find what you really were beneath. In reality, your smile was so open, I walked in uninvited.
I’ve kept all the pieces of you that I could find. Stored them safely, wrapped away in a box somewhere hidden and warm, until I can remember how the puzzle goes and slot you back into yourself, a little more fragile perhaps but whole again.
He called her The Office Bitch, to her face. Drops the comment like a hot coal before she climbs into a taxi home and I turn my car keys over in my hand, heels sharp on the concrete, the elastic in my shoulders twisting tighter as the words sink in. I can’t help but repeat it, turn the words over in my mouth the needles of the teeth still there, as I wonder if he’d of said the same were she a man. Would she have had to swallow it, if she were a man. Because at worst he would have been a bastard. Not The Office One. I wanted to add another stanza to this but nothing seemed to work so I’m going to sleep on it any maybe come back to this piece another day. In the meantime I’m relatively happy with how it works at the moment. I’d love to hear your feedback though.
The jetty had rotten clean through in places, creating a hopscotch of holes almost impossible to see in the dark. Gritting her teeth, Emile slid one foot in front of the other and eased her weight onto it. At the end of the jetty a light flickered and went off. She paused and steadied her breath. Patience, she reminded herself. She’d waited fifteen years, she could afford fifteen minutes to get across this dock unscathed. She ran a hand across the outline of the pistol inside her jacket. Fifteen minutes, she promised herself. That’s all she needed.
I looked up what ivy was supposed to represent, after we called the man with the poison to clear the wooden fence panel right to the root. This creeping plant, that works its way between the cracks, and closes its fist so slowly, so quietly, that you cannot see the brickwork break, it’s supposed to represent friendship. I thought about you then, how I’d failed to see how deep you’d planted yourself until the moment that you cracked me clean in half. Like ivy, you keep coming back no matter the cold or the drought, there is no prying those tendrils loose, no poison that will make this shadow of you wither. I must live with the damage you have caused. I must somehow learn how not to crumble.
I can’t remember if the fence was crooked before or after the stranger came? In my memory he’s tall, thin, white haired and smiling. Perhaps he wasn’t all that tall though. Most people seem tall to me so perhaps he was shorter, more averaged sized. Either way, I can still see him standing in the larger gate, the one we used, not the one eaten by the conifers, smiling at my parents’ house. He was the one who revealed that it used to be two and not one, and he had lived there at some point, back when he was my age. At least I think he said that, I might have made that last bit up. I think I was disappointing that my parents already knew the bit about our house not always being one dwelling. It was the same sort of disappointment that came I woke up from dreams with secret doors and hidden staircases. The mystery was never mine to find, it always belonged to someone else. My room is now the …
The ladder from the garage wasn’t quite tall enough to reach all the way, but it brought us within touching distance of the guttering. From there you could pull yourself up and afterwards, reach down for my hands, smaller, thinner, not quite as adept at clambering about. I let you lead me to a lot of places I couldn’t reach on my own. Perhaps I should have worried sooner about being left behind but back then all I could think of was how strong you were. Lifting me like a bag of sugar to watch the sun set beside you.
The Spring was wet, enough that the trees still look alive above the yellow grass, their roots searching out hidden wells to keep from losing too many leaves. In their shade the heat has baked the ground into a bad ceramic, the glaze already chipped and cracked in this overheated kiln. Camouflaged by brittle stalks the sacrifices go unnoticed, dust to dust, ashes to ashes, the trees can only stand so long.