Tastes


He pulls away from the kiss.

“You taste… sweet,” he grins.

Sweet? Her mind whirls with all the things she’s ever called sweet in her whole life. Sweet is good, but what kind of sweet? The sweet of honey, or the sweet of candyfloss? Sweet like pancakes in the morning or sweet like ice cream on a hot day? Toffee, caramel, chocolate, strawberries.

“Sweet?” she asks.

“Sweet like victory,” he chuckles, and she doesn’t understand. She can’t understand. Maybe he’ll never tell her what he was going through before he found her. Maybe he will. Either way she won’t know the struggle to wake up in the morning, and to go to sleep at night. The struggle to do simple things like make a cup of coffee or to do the job that brought home money to buy the coffee.

All she’ll know is the man who wakes up smiling, and the man who does everything he needs to do, all for her. For her because she saved him. And she’ll never know just how much. Lighting a spark in him that set him running, fighting against himself to achieve her. And now she’s his. Now he’s kissing her under the yellow-white glow of the streetlamp, and she tastes of all the battles he’s ever won. She tastes of every sunny morning, every day at the beach.

She tastes of sweet, sweet victory.


 

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Stay…?

He’d lost her. After everything they’d done together. All the places they’d been and people they’d met. All the food they’d eaten and music they’d heard. He’d let her go. And he watched her plane leaving, and he remembered why he should have asked her to stay.

Remembered one late night in a small hotel in the middle of nowhere. Her yellow dress and yellow eyes. The power had gone out… her hair shone gold in the candlelight. He remembered the curve of her back, the parting of her lips. The way she leaned close to the candle to blow it out. How her hands found his in the dark.

Remembered a morning not long before that, in a field full of lavender. Lavender was her favourite flower. Her favourite scent. She wore it in a perfume, sometimes. Her favourite colour was orange, but the lavender suited her more. She said it reminded her of the way a morning feels when it’s been raining all night.

He remembered holding her hand while she laughed in the ocean, the spray sprinkling droplets over her freckles. Holding her hand while she cried, her makeup streaming down to cover her freckles.

He remembered the first time he’d spoken to her. Her voice was high, her laugh was jingling. She’d been wearing a dress… green. And orange sandals, and her toes were painted the same blue as her fingernails. But she’d bitten those down.

He remembered now, every smile and every laugh and every fight. How she’d always go to bed angry and come lie with him sometime before morning, to let him know that it was okay. How she’d only watch her favourite movie when she was sad, or hurt. How she loved him, and how she told him that every time he left the room, as if it might be the last chance she’d have to say those words.

He remembered her saying once that if she could build a time machine, she’d turn the clock back all the way to the day they first met, so she could live it all again. He hadn’t responded.

But…

If he could build a time machine, he’d give anything to turn the clock back five minutes, so he could ask her to stay.

Wanting To Run


With her eyes closed she can feel things more.

The wind on her face, the warmth of his breath on her neck. Kids yelling in the distance, something about wanting to run, wanting to run.
She knows about that. Wanting to run. She wants to run almost every day. Wants to run away. Wants to escape and find a place far far away from everything that hurts and everything that doesn’t.
A place where there’s nothing but the smell of the trees and the call of the crows and the tickle of the grass against her skin. A place like this. She does run, and when she does she comes here. With him.
It gets too cold if she comes alone. Nobody to wrap around her like a blanket making her too hot in the summer and not warm enough in the winter and just right in the in-between seasons that nobody pays much attention to.

A dog barks, a child screams. His breath quickens and moves. She sighs. Sometimes even running away doesn’t guarantee her peace.


 

Fragments of the Future


The sunlight is nice, as is the breeze that ruffles the blinds. All the blankets lie crumpled at the edge of the bed, and in the centre she lies sprawled across all of her available pillows. Feels like a regular Saturday morning. Except that it’s Friday, and its two in the afternoon. The bass rattles through the house.

It’s one of those days when everything is right. Everything is okay, and it’s not too hot or too cold, and the sun’s out and the clouds have vanished. Nowhere to be and nobody to see. It’s a welcome change from the dragging days and freezing nights.

Sometime between waking and opening her laptop, she starts to wonder about the future. On days like today, it’s safe to think about things like that. On days like today she can see herself going places.


Five years later, curled up in bed but this time not alone. This time someone’s holding her waist, and her breathing is deep, and smooth. She hasn’t woken up yet. The man beside her pulls her closer, burying his face in her hair to kiss her cheek. Eyes fluttering open, she curls into him.


Yes, on days like today she can see herself in the future, happy. Laughing with friends, stressing about exams, waking up late on weekends and early on weekdays. Perhaps it will be all she hopes it will be, or it won’t, and that’ll be okay too. Not all fantasies come true, after all. At least it will be a future. At least it will be hers.


 

What Will It Take?

“What will it take to make you hate me?” you whisper. Your breath forms a cloud in the air, and for once it’s not smoke. Your face is hidden, shadows formed under the hood of your sweater. I can barely make out the shape of your mouth. Your nose… 

Your eyes. 

Murky green and staring straight into mine, up through those lashes like a lost puppy. My hand reaches your cheek, and you lean into it, bringing us closer. 

“Nothing,” I breathe, though even that seems difficult with your lips an inch from mine and your hand on my hip. “I could never hate you.”

And I can see the wheels turn in your head. You, a sad boy with shattered eyes. I can see you thinking of ways to make me leave so you won’t hurt me any more than you have. I can see your eyes darken and I feel you start to pull away. So I react, my lips meeting yours before your hand leaves my waist. 

You hesitate, only for a moment, before I bite your lip and then nothing else in the world matters. 

Publicly Curious


Who are they? Where are they going? What are they thinking?

The lady with the red shoes looks tired; does she work? Is this part of her daily routine? Has she become numb to the other seven people sitting around her?

The bus is slow, pulling over at almost every stop. Picking up more people. More faces. More stories I’ll never know.

Here comes a kid now; short, cropped hair, skinny jeans and a backpack. A school kid. Which school? Is he popular? Do those expensive shoes get him girls? Do they get him guys?

A lady sits beside me, prim and proper and pretty. Her purse is pink, to match her sweater. She’s maybe the CEO of some fancy company, or a real estate agent.

The man in front of us taps his phone screen constantly. Texting who? His wife? His girlfriend? His brother, uncle, sister, acquaintance?

I want to observe them more, but staring is rude and I dare not be rude. I just want to know who they are. What their stories are. How they feel.

But now it’s my stop, and I’m climbing off, and nobody’s noticing. Nobody’s wondering who I am. Nobody cares what my story is, or where I’m going, or what I’m thinking.


 

Come Away From The Edge


“Tell me something beautiful,” she asks, her back to the world and the cliff at the edge of her feet. She balances on the edges between the rocks and the air, between life and death, between sanity and madness.

“Come back, please, Jem.”

But she only laughs, “It’s only a game.”

And she swings her arms, spins on her feet like the dancer she is. Inches from the edge.

“Jemma please!”

Her fire gold eyes meet mine and she grins, “I’ll come back. But first; tell me something beautiful.”

I swallow, hesitate.

“Come on, Luc! You’re the writer,” she squeals.

My mouth opens before I have time to think.

“You laugh in short bursts, like you’re trying to keep it in but you can’t figure out how to. Your keep your hair in a tight bun because you don’t like hair in your face. Your eyes get really big when we watch old movies, and you cried at the end of The Amazing Spiderman 2. When you’re happy you move your hands around one another. You love the night because you know that the stars are suns and that somewhere out there- ”

She interrupts me, “I said something beautiful, Luc.”

“Don’t you see?” I scream, “You are beautiful to me! Every tiny thing you do is beautiful. The way you blink and the way you move and the way you brush your hair out of your face. You’re beautiful, Jemma, and I don’t care if you don’t see it, because I do. And I love you. I’ve loved you since I met you. Since the first time I saw you smile.”

She’s looking at me with those fire gold eyes.

“Come back, Jemma. Come away from the edge. It’s not a game. You’re playing with the most important thing in my entire life; you. Come away from the edge.”

And she does.