I never meant to bump into you in the supermarket with my mask on. Your eyes were a dead giveaway. I once imagined abandoning you in the frozen food section before resentment had time to thaw.
Our first kiss. On that hillside. On a cold winter’s day.
Excited messages, back and forth, like we couldn’t keep our fingers off each other. Smiley faces, love hearts, delightedly laughing out loud.
Lazing around in the mornings at the weekends. Tracing the outline of your body so precisely then clutching you close.
Frantically grabbing my clothes in that crazy mad dash to run out of your door, catch that bus, apologise to my boss with a smile.
When we settled together, in the same space, we still glanced towards each other. I watched you taking your time as you scrutinised the pasta so it turned out exactly as you wanted. I caught your gaze as I was focusing so precisely on that sketch which I’d nearly finished. It was that drawing I did of you.
The seasons fluttered by and once you came home with a wheelbarrow full of books you’d picked up from a second-hand store on the periphery of town. You were dripping wet as you tipped out your goodies on to the new rug we’d bought. We had to leave War and Peace to dry out as it got almost destroyed in the rainstorm. We replaced the rug and I made you pay.
When you were deep in concentration, you used to tap the back of your hand on the table incessantly. There was a melody to your oblivion. It was you. It was very you. Then the headaches started and I had to increase my painkillers to two.
I had a mug. A souvenir from my one and only trip to New York. There was a slow-motion moment when your sleeve caught the handle and the silly memento smashed into a thousand smithereens. I fetched the dustpan and broom.
When you walked away for the final time, I stared at the drawing. Your naked body, crouched in charcoal. I tore at every piece of your flesh. I tore and tore and tore.
Surprised, and looking directly into your eyes, I clung tightly to my shopping trolley. I saw your naked body, etched in my mind with the years of shaping it in my hands. I saw your naked body, curled up, sleeping, between the cornflakes, the pomegranates and the soft-melting brie.
‘Fancy meeting you here,’ I smiled.
Author Bio: Lizzie Eldridge is a writer, actor and activist from Glasgow. The author of 2 published novels – Duende and Vandalism – Vandalism was shortlisted for a National Book Prize in Malta where she lived for 12 years. It was also selected as one of the Best Books 2017 by a Glasgow branch of Waterstones. As well as novels, Lizzie writes poetry and short stories which can be found in Scottish PEN’s PENning, Epoch, The Edwin Morgan Centenary Collection, and Declarations on Freedom for Writers and Readers. Find her on Twitter at @lizzie_eldridge.
Photo by Eduardo Soares on Unsplash.