"Imagine a city where graffiti wasn't illegal, a city where everybody drew whatever they liked. Where every street was awash with a million colours and little phrases. Where standing at a bus stop was never boring. A city that felt like a party where everyone was invited, not just the estate agents and barons of big business. Imagine a city like that and stop leaning against the wall - it's wet. “ - Banksy

it was bloody cold.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Too much Jane The Virgin...

How do you write about a yearning you won’t allow yourself to feel? If you feel it, it is real. And it is wrong. It is a betrayal that will wound. Never intended, as feelings are. They just are. A heart overrides logic with startling ease. It can be cruel with its timing, hurting those caught in its path. So you choose not to feel it. The anxiety of denial is crippling. Feelings don’t disappear. Repressed, they lurk, quivering beneath a thin membrane. A dark weight sits beneath my chest, emitting guilt, love, confusion and uncertainty.

We are in a bar, looking out over the city. We are bathed in an orange light as the sun retreats below the horizon. Our wine glasses sweat in the evening heat, and I take a sip. Ginger and grapefruit. Bright, crisp, and cooling. I lean forward, placing my elbows on the table. I see you subtly and subconsciously mirror my movements. Between us, unspoken, an alternate reality hangs heavy of the years we could have spent together.


I loved her a long time ago. I remember one morning distinctly. We had talked on the phone for almost two hours. I don’t know what we talked about but when I hung up the corner of my eyes were still crinkled and my cheeks ached from laughter. I could feel that glow inside me – do you know the one I mean? It’s warm and blissful, and it emanates from the inside out, flowing through your body and beaming from your fingertips. 

She sits across from me now. Her sunglasses, perched on her head, hold back sandy waves that fall messily around her face. Her eyes are wide, questioning, and beautiful. She seems uncertain – vulnerable?


He looks good – really good. His shirtsleeves are rolled up and I can see his arms are browned and golden from this unusually stunning summer. And he has these beautiful eyes. I know it’s a cliché but his are exceptional. They are fiercely blue and inquisitive, curious, and they scrunch up happily when he laughs.

We start with small talk. Aided by wine, soon we are chatting more comfortably. He has several thousand new facts to tell me – all of them weird and funny. I can’t help but notice that he doesn’t bring her up once. Perhaps, to spare my feelings. But does he know them? He couldn’t. My feelings for him have been packed away tightly. Yet they are bursting at the seams. It’s possible minute fragments are seeping out. Perhaps in the lengthened time I hold his gaze. Or maybe in the way my shoulders are turned towards him, leaning in ever so slightly. Body language betrays our minds with ease. I straighten up and look away. Could there be another reason he doesn’t bring her up? I wonder if he doesn’t want her here, between us.


Every day we interpret others’ body language, read their cues, and make assumptions. It’s cognitively efficient and we tend to be right. It's a useful trick when you are wondering what coffee your friend would like as you pop into a cafe on the way to meet them. Interpreting how someone feels for you is harder. Or at least, while not harder, has higher stakes. If I believe she feels for me and she doesn’t it will hurt too much. Believing she doesn’t want me will hurt more.


I wish he could hear all the words I am too afraid to say. My feelings are still suspended, just out of reach, sitting on the brink of safety. Then I blink. One split second too long. One tiny fragment of my life. Barely enough time to breathe. But it is enough time for want to come crashing in. The waves roar. I say his name. I feel it all. 


She utters my name. I don't see it approaching but in one breath the wave breaks. I don't know her like I used to and I wish with everything I have that I did. 

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