Thursday, September 12

Six Months in the Shade of a Girl

‘I think its good to get away from yr desk at lunch; get out the office; walk around; stretch yr legs; get a breath of fresh air, yknow? More often than not I’ll eat my lunch on the steps of the Royal Exchange. It’s always busy there—especially on a hot sunny day—every patch of ground is taken up by someone’s arse. It’s good. For an hour or so London feels like it’s got a community, yknow? people are just out, socializing, talking, getting alone, and everyone’s happy. There’s a real buzz in the city when it’s like that and, you know what, I miss it the rest of the year, yknow? Anyway … but yeah, I seen the guy, this young fella, right? Yeah, he goes past there every day. Always the same thing and pretty much exactly the same time. You could probably set yr watch by it. He walks alone. He’s real moody looking and he walks quite fast like he’s on a mission or something. Anyway, he always stops for a sec and looks at this bit of pavement outside the Royal Exchange. Everyday. It’s odd. He’ll just walk up, stop there and stare at it for a moment and then he’ll fuck off again. Not known anyone else to do that. He never stays. You’d think if he liked it so much he’d stop and sit down or something… but no, he just looks at it and then fucks off again, yknow? I watch him and it kinda makes me chuckle. That’s just something to look at from those steps; that’s what I like about them; you just sit there and watch the world going on about you and the lunch-hour flies. The time flies, it really does, yknow?’

Six Months in the Shade of a Girl

six months of & so many words I wrote alone
comes to a head on

these pasty London streets that
even the
rats of the capital cannot
distract If I were to piece my
longing thoughts together
sewn with footsteps I trace

paths we walked
hand n hand
a man obsessed;
shadow of a circus

What was I before?
six months ago?

(a capillary awaiting blood)

my delight swept into
the heavens upon the touch
of her hand as she removed
the winter glove to touch.

I had reminded myself the day before but it wasn’t until I was walking down the road on my routine re-tracking of our walks together that I remembered:
six months.
A certain sadness overcame me. I rolled down my sleeves and, before that spot, I did up the buttons of my cuffs; one button would not quite fit in its knitted slit.
The light was grey, not unlike that of March.
(Then: getting brighter.
Now: getting darker.)
Or was it? I could not decide. I stood before the spot, studying it and remembering when I showed up late and she smiled at me (so far from everyone else around her) and I saw her teeth—because one never sees another’s teeth in photographs when one is young and trying to look thoughtful—so that I was happy and overjoyed.
What I would give to go back to then just for a week, do it over again, relive it over and over.
It was as if she clapped in a canyon and ever since every other girl has been a lesser, muffled version of her, not as bright nor as real or original. I put the mint of her name into my mouth and rolled it around.
‘Daniel needed that … he needed that one girl he couldn’t have.’
Just for a thrill.
Six months and all my prophesies about her have come true. ‘Things have not quite returned to normal, even after all this time. I still see her in my dreams, my thoughts, and in the fantasies I enjoy at night. I have not met anyone like her. Every girl on the street is not worth a lash on the eyes that have beheld Emilia in the midday sun.’ I wrote that about her before we met. It still rings like a bell.
Six months. Calendars are dangerous things.
I don’t mind longing. Longing is a dead flower. Something, at least, was beautiful once upon a time.

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