What would happen if I stopped looking for you? Would you stop coming my way? I don’t think so, somehow. But what would happen if you just didn’t come my way? Any ‘you’ at all. How does that work?
Open. eyes. Too bright. Close again. Hot under my hands. It moves. Water? It moves with me, it stays still around me while other parts of it move past, slide past us, but it’s different to water.
How long does it take for loneliness to overcome someone? The weakest and the strongest. It is a solid, absolute factor in people’s disappearances, I promise you. Without that familiarity with the way of things, the connection, the interpersonal interaction, the self-validation, the confirmation that your body ticks the boxes, your personality is satisfactory and entertaining and special at least for the first few months before the sell-by-date of most new friendships, etc.
I’m still here. I’ll be here for a while if you feel like rescuing me.
Michael lifted his pillow to see the ten-year-old ten pound note in its place. The ‘tooth fairy’ (the baglady who slept outside his house on the street, who snuck in through his window to leave him presents she’d been given when he was going through rough times) had been very kind that year. She must have understood that Michael needed a bit more than twenty pence to console him after losing Joelly and a tooth in one day. Especially at the age of thirty-eight.
This was his last hope. He tenderly reached out, picked it up with all the care of a child holding its first butterfly, and laid it out flat on the table, smoothing out the creases with nervous fingers. He picked up a pen.
…Man, forty-eight, eyes: green, hair: brown, 6’2. Looking-“
-Waiting for you to happen to me.
He heaved on his not-so-unattractive coat, resigned himself to the state of his beautiful, beautiful hair, and tapped goodbye to the paintings on the wall. As he went down the stairs to outside, the paintings breathed with hope.
Outside blurs past as Michael walks quickly but gracefully, covering ground in forgiving steps that, to anyone who cared to notice, would tell of his beautiful, beautiful wants.
A moment of beautiful hope as Michael stands outside the supermarket, head up, taking in the happenings of the inside. Plastic bags dance in the wet wind. Water falls slowly, not hitting but coming to the ground and moving into it like lovers from-years-ago-across-a-crowded-room.
Michael is inside now. He waits behind the woman with ten bags of sugar and in front of the man with toothpaste, bananas and bandages. He picks something from the stall at the till; he doesn’t see what. The woman turns her trolley in a long, rounded move and gives it a slow kick-start before riding on the back bar underneath. She is tired.
The cashier waits, smiling. She doesn’t feel the need to talk to Michael. A smile seems enough. Her brown eyes are bright, and warm. They tell dreams of deserts and beautiful calm. She shows willing and acceptance, but Michael doesn’t really see it. He hands over the note, almost not letting go. The rain falls slowly for a moment more.