‘Hot tea is so rare for me these days.’ The darkest brown eyes lingered on mine and her top lip lifted into a smile. Her hands held the cup as though it was a chalice and we were at prayer. Her competent thumb sat proudly over the rim of the porcelain and curled up each time she swallowed. All the time I was watching her I felt her proximity, the smell of her skin, the weight of my clothes separating us. She smelt like a memory I wished I had had. Roll it back, roll it back to a then where we had been inseparable, absurdly, crazily togther. I inhaled the chypre and climbed into the memory wish, the spell of new time for old. Everything started to loosen. Edges around things lost their shapes. I was turning to water and running backwards towards her arms. Solid ground, the prints of two people going on together.
I wanted to kneel at her feet and press my head against her, a lost creature found again. Baby I wanted to cry out. You, you.
The tea was drunk and the distance between us was three feet . Three and a half but she was looking at the window and the neighbour’s cat Alfie was staring inside calling to her.
‘I think I am wanted by a marmalade cat. More flattering perhaps than my previous offers and twice as likely to endure!’ She flung back her head and laughed, smiling at my helpless dismay.
Would you desert a woman who likes the words cove and crease and caress? Are you a sailor at heart Jo? Would you tack on and off in stormy weather?
She knew my name. The sprite knew my name. I hadn’t asked her what she called herself now. So I opened up my mouth and asked. What’s your name ? I resisted saying nowadays. Didn’t want to show how much I knew, I am a poker play afterall.
Nowadays my name is Katherine. With an ‘e’ and a big K.
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