LYDIA ALLISON – YORKSHIRE
We missed it. I know. Every time. The bottle stands crooked in the bag, drunk, and bumps my calf over and over. The rustle cuts the soft steps I make on browning petals. She picks up a spray of little flowers, from the grass by the path. I’m saving these though. At home she puts them in a shotglass.
She lies on the bedroom floor. Work-dirty white shirt and flannel pyjambles. Her words pressed as firmly in my mouth as a second tongue. A propped book rests on her breasts and her hands hover in the air, like electrical conductors twitching with closed-eye delight. The music is too loud for right now, beating heavy and brass like the giant gold valves of a heartbeat. She has brought the speakers to the floor and put them either side of where her head rests. I grab the remote control and turn it down. She sits up and opens her eyes and closes the book.
I like the sound of computer keys. Her laptop lives on the dining table, with a coaster on it. My fingers go klok klok and she sits a doorway away, looking at nothing; clicking, unclicking, clicking a Christmas cracker pen.
It’s cold now, outside. She pulls the paper back and takes a bun. The sifted icing makes sugar-smoke when she bites. She sees it too and I like that. She looks at me and I have one and it makes a plume, a cloud, then gone.
I used to watch her as I would a mirror. I do it again. She sits with her legs stretched out and rubs her stomach under her jumper. The sound is the same as paper on paper and her eyes flicker with the light of the TV.
I tell her that we mustn’t forget, we must go outside in time. Take a drive and see the blossom topping the trees like frosting. We can pass through the grey route, to sameness, to change, to this forwards-mirror, this sweet mist.