I fell and I landed and the crash mat knocked all the air out of me. I swore and you laughed and dropped down onto your knees next to me and those big blue eyes refuelled my empty lungs. I swore again, although for a rather different reason, and you offered me a hand. You pulled me upright and pulled my head into your chest with both arms as I remembered how to breathe.

The smell of you was chalk and sweat and old rubber shoes and something else uniquely yours, and I counted each dose of it by the metronome inside your ribcage. As my breathing slowed, your grip loosened and your palms stroked my shoulders in a smooth, uninterrupted rhythm.



You pulled me to my feet and turned to face the wall, adorned with a rainbow of little rocks and numbers and scuff marks.

“Well quit slacking, then”, you said with a masterpiece of a grin painted across your face and I said I’d race you, and you gave me a slap on the arse and I gave you a punch in the arm. And you won, but when you looked me in the eye to gloat then I did, too.


Hielo y fuego

I gave up. I fell onto the sofa with the remains of a pot of chocolate ice cream, half-melted in the microwave out of impatient desperation. I let each spoonful melt across my tongue; grateful for a feeling at all I followed the cold sensation as it numbed my throat and spread into my stomach. As I scraped the last from the sides of the pot my dog jumped into life, barking out the window at a silver blur of car headed toward the dead-end. I called her down off the sofa. She didn’t look entirely convinced that the excitement was over but she obeyed and came to sit at my feet.

I sighed into the empty pot and heaved myself up to take it to the bin. April followed me half the way down the hall but the sound of a car door sent her hurtling back to her post on the back of the sofa by the window, to add to the collection of nose marks on the glass. I dumped the pot in the bin, and the spoon in the sink and turned on the radio. It was adverts, so it went straight off again. Leaning against the counter I let my eyes shut and my head fall back.

The barking became suddenly more urgent as the gate clicked shut. I was definitely not in the mood for visitors and considered just staying in the kitchen out of view and waiting for whoever it was to leave again, but the barking was drilling into my skull so I ventured back down the hall and shut April in the front room.

I opened the front door before you reached it; you were standing halfway down the driveway facing the way you had just come and running a hand through your hair. You turned at the sound of the door opening and my heart broke a little bit more just at the sight of you.

You were wearing my favourite shirt of yours, a dark purple button-down, sleeves rolled up in the early summer heat. Your hair had been starting to lighten in the sun and you looked so youthful and full of life and then at the same time utterly bewildered that I had opened the door to my own house while you were standing on my driveway. April was still shouting but with less fervour now you were out of sight.

You shook your head slowly and took the three paces between us in no time at all and took hold of my face with such a deliberate grip I braced for impact and your warm lips met my cold ones with all the subtlety of the big bang. You drew me forward across the threshold onto the cold stone floor and when my hands finally figured out what was happening they gripped the back of your shirt and held you close.

You pulled back and looked into my eyes, concerned and searching for something.

“You’re gonna break me one of these days”, I said.

“I’m so sorry. I’m so, so sorry”, you answered, pulling me into your arms; bringing me home.


Her scent polluted the air.
Her eyes seemed to surround him.
He covered the mirrors for when he saw himself,
he heard her laugh.
The afternoon beyond the sealed blinds knew not that he needed silence;
and the sun knew not that he needed rain.
He prayed wordlessly
for his release.


She entered the bedroom after he was already under the sheets, his chest exposed as he sat against the wall fiddling with his phone. She closed the door without a word, checked that he was still occupied by the screen in his hand, then turned to face the wardrobe and began to remove her shirt.  The room fell abnormally quiet, the sound of him thinking seemed to vanish from the air and she could tell he was watching her before she looked in the mirror to her left.

He looked at her like an animal at its helpless prey. She thought that this was how someone must look at a person they are about to murder as they crouch in fear screaming for mercy. She tried to ignore the intensity of his stare as it burned into her skin and reached down to the floor to retrieve her nightshirt. She hastened her routine as she removed her bra and pulled the shirt over her head. It was grey and old and was more like a short dress than a shirt, it ended over her thighs and she liked it best that way. She did not want to be attractive, she wanted to go to sleep.

She unbuttoned her jeans, removed them carefully so as not to show any more skin than necessary, and placed them folded on the chair next to her for the morning. She flashed a glance to the mirror; he was still watching her, the same disgusting half-smile fixed on his face. It was a look of expectancy that was soon to be tainted with disappointment and displeasure.

She released a silent sigh before turning the light off and joining him in the small double bed. She was careful not to touch him and not to meet his gaze; she did not want to give him any sort of signal that the look on his face was welcome. He put down his phone on the cabinet beside him and looked over to her. He slid a hand over to her leg under the sheets and she held back a grimace, forcing a smile onto her lips. She muttered a goodnight and lay facing the wall, away from him and that carnal almost-smile.

His rough hand met the curve of her hip and her face contorted with the mixture of anger and sadness and pain that coursed through her veins. This was not how life was meant to be.


The bass captivated the room and the silent vibrations pulsed through my body as I stood breathing heavily, eyes closed, waiting for the drop. The air was dense with sweat and the atmosphere suggested that I was not the only person pausing to catch their breath. I felt a hand grab my arm and slide down to meet my open hand, and after a pause there was a sharp tug. Eyes still sealed I followed the pull of my guide wordlessly through the maze of bodies, holding tight as the beat got louder.

A blast of cool air hit my face and arms as we passed the fans and speakers that obscured the lesser-used side hallway. The music was muffled as the door fell shut behind us and the pull on my hand lessened; we came to a stop. I opened my eyes to glimpse a familiar blue abyss before me as I was pulled into his arms by the hand he had yet to release; the music picked up again as his lips met mine and my eyes closed once more.

I smiled into his kiss, my now liberated hands finding hair to hold him closer.