pencil sketches

“What did you see?”
“Couple, the first bus-stop near Southgate, you know the one? He kissed her, got on the bus, she turned away smiling. But then I saw it, just the split second. Wish I had my camera. The crack in the smile, the downward look in the eyes. All women do it, that moment of truth in the face, it’s one of the newest twists of evolution.”
“Or indeed in evolution..?”
“If you will. But it was there. Felt like telling him, not that she was close at the point. Awkward traffic lights, those on Southgate. New sequence, I’d guess, tricky.”
“You get red lights all the way down, my dad used to say, I recall. Never got that, always thought how the lights knew which journey you were making. Anyway, any others?”
“Older woman on a train. Over-sized fur coat, hair to match, grey and in curls, dye growing out I’d imagine. Her hands were like….the fixed triangle of prayer but melted, softer, you know?”
“Bit obvious, but likely. I read her face for a while, think she may have caught me. Something about her mouth, I think she had words she wanted to say…I flicked through one of those free ‘papers left on the seats. Altruism at its finest.”
“Any clues in the ‘paper? I should start that, actually, there’s a ruse, eh? Crossword puzzles from beyond the seas!”
“You’re too clever for half. A mouse knows what a trap is for, that’s why you never catch them with traps.”
“Give cheese a chance, you could say, hmm?”
“You’re not funny. At all.”

Disappearing clouds, ink-splots, the drizzle of rain meant for someone else. A bird, a changing traffic signal, a scrunch of crisp packet underfoot. Something about these mornings allow the hearing to become more acute, more precise. The earliest break of susceptibility. Crackling of the first fried egg of the day or the sudden, certain click of the kettle, the aroma of fat and tea and cigarette and the sour moist yeast smell from the underneat the bedcovers. Disappearing shadows behind the curtains and whoosing wet cars with their tinny radio beats, fading into a churlish form of realism. And then…

She was out of my league, as they say. God she was fit, not just sexy or beautiful or what-ever-the-Hell; she was fit. And like any bird worth her value she knew how to play it. God she could tease. Bring on some half decent green, Kula Shaker’s K on shuffle, and before long I had to sit with my legs crossed. And then she’d ruin it, which I suspect got her going, in a way. Would suggest we’d host a party at which everyone would have to take off their clothes so I’d be sitting there like a tool with all my mates embarrased at the sight of all the fat and blotched skin and wobbly bits we’d do so well to hide. Or else she’d get too whacked on cheap vodka and fall asleep, her face flat against the laptop keyboard, waking up at three with QWERTY across her skin in a faint reverse Cryllic pastiche. Or else she’d complain about being bored and fall into a strop and demand money for a trip to the pictures she’d never actually make. But FIT, that was the point. And she was here, on my carpet, rolling a joint and laughing and joking and flirting, all for her own benefit. And for all that I loved her more than I could ever admit.

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