Saturday, September 08, 2007

"I tell you, my heart beats a little louder"

"I tell you, my heart beats a little louder"

"But I'd already told you that" says the voice in the dark.

"When?" I ask peering over the edge of the bed to the indistinct figure on the floor.

"Once upon a time".

Even though I know he can twist a phrase I let the sentence melt, delicious and inviting as it is.

There is something else though - the fact that I have forgotten. The catch in the voice, the inflection that even he cannot conceal.

"I apologise then - for not remembering". I mean it. More than he will probably realise.

"I forgive you" there's a pause. He knows how to use a pause. "Just this once".

The sentence catches in my ears, an echo that I would not have expected him to remember. The words I had said to him in another room, another town, another world away. Turned on me as part of that secret history.

I know what he is going to say next before the words leave his mouth.

Later, when the voice comes not from the depths of the floor but reverberates instead against my neck, we argue over who avoided whom at the start of the summer, each of our mock indignation rising to meet the other's.

"I was looking to see if we were ok, wanting to catch your eye, and you wouldn't look".

I do not list all the reasons why I didn't want to look, of everything that I know I should run from but which I remain curiously enthralled by. And those eyes, which fascinate and trouble me in equal measure.

"I thought you were avoiding me!"

For I was not the one who made a hasty retreat that first day, taking solace outside the cloisters.

"Lame excuse. I maintain my right to be offended".

But as he utters the words he pulls me closer still; that curious mixture of unknown scent, alcohol and cigarettes envelops me and, utterly content, I twist my fingers around his.

"See, you losing your keys worked out well, didn't it?"

There is the flash of my own deceit; the keys that some time ago I realised were sitting happily in my coat pocket, the coat which now lays discarded, nestled next to the clothes which litter his bedroom floor.

"Yes". It is time for my own pause. "Yes it did".

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