ZOE COOK – YORKSHIRE
how you drove me back and I sat shaking in the passenger seat convinced you were going to kill us both even though your hands were burning heavy limbed on the steering wheel and you wouldn’t let go when I offered you my hand. Were you imagining the wheel was my neck? Or his? I would have jumped from the car but I sat locked in because I thought I loved you too much to leap. It wasn’t my fault. It was before I even knew you. But because you can’t imagine a life without me you look over and I see myself in the whites of your eyes as the devil and so I sit silently and let you hate me, may I burn in the soft hell you created for me. You pull over crying into your hands and tell me how sorry you are…but…. I pull out a cigarette and my hands tremble so much I have trouble lighting it. You offer and reach over like the lion and like the deer I shrink back scared by your white sharp teeth. You freeze like the lion never does and at once I remember you’re human. Humans make mistakes. So I let you light the cigarette for me and we sit in the dark inhaling the same toxic fate. You cry again and your beautiful stupid eyes stare at me helplessly as though I have all the answers. My first instinct is to run away from you and run all the way home but because I can’t bear your pain I steal it and kiss the salty smoothness of your tears and stroke your hair and tell you it’s fine. Let’s go to bed.
Image: Orly Orbach