Written in


Photo credit: Emmeline T.

[685 words]

She is half curled on him like a shell. Red head resting on his chest. Breasts that hang off her rib cage like banana bunches, even ten years after university. He looks alright too, he thinks, when he assesses the damage in the stand-alone, full-length mirror in his apartment bedroom. His third decade is being good to him, he thinks. He looks a little worn. Legs and arms slightly sinewed. Hairier. Tireder eyes. But he thinks it hangs together in a more masculine portrait of how he feels inside.

She hasn’t been home in so long that her legs are getting irritated by the disposable razors she bought. But not long enough for him to worry yet. The supermarket own-brand underwear would be bothering her, if she’d been wearing it much.

Bed. Food. Bed. Bar. Bed. Walk. Bed. Bookshop. Bed. The eroticism of rekindled desire. The aftertaste of betraying a friend, even though he hasn’t. They broke up six years ago. It’s fair game. But it feels hot, like he’s stealing her from the past.

He wonders how long the idyll will last this time. How long does it ever last? Are they simply falling from a higher point? She doesn’t think like this. She thinks this is destiny. The ease of their company is a sign that this should be effortless – forever.

She chuckles and shakes her head, her cheek brushing his chest.

“What?” he asks.

“I can’t believe it took us so long. That neither of us knew.”

“I knew I liked you. I didn’t know you liked me.”

“How didn’t you know?” she asks.

“Are you for real?”


He slides his shoulder from under her weight, props himself up on one elbow, “How was I supposed to know?” He’s laughing, it’s ridiculous to him.

“I gave you so many signals at uni.”

“Every time you got drunk at uni, you ended up in bed with Stoney.” She makes an exasperated sound. “Then you made it official in the third year. So…”

She laughs, “So what?”

“So, where were the signals?”

“Don’t you remember that time in freshers’ week when we were at that party in someone’s room in Darwen College halls? You found that girl’s Thriller CD and you put it on and made everyone act out the Thriller dance in the hall.”

“And someone rang security and they shut down the party.”

“And afterwards when we were all walking back to Rutherford College halls, I told you that was a really cool thing to do, you helped bring everyone together and it wouldn’t have been as good a party without you.”

“You said something like that. I vaguely remember.”

“That was a signal!”

“You are fucking mental.” He is almost crying with laughter.

“What? What else do you want?”

“Tell the rest of the story. What happened when we got back to Rutherford halls?”

“I don’t…” she stops and makes a frustrated noise and tries to turn away. He holds her shoulder so she can’t. .

He tells her, “We all went down to Rutherford bar. It was closed but Poya knew how to pick the lock. We all started playing pool and drinking. Five minutes later you’re gone. So is Stoney. You’re in some corner of the bar, eating each other’s faces.”

“Stop, why do you have to ruin it?”

“Ruin what? That’s what happened.”

“That was just the alcohol.”

“That was just the first time,” he laughs. “Were you drunk every time?”


“What about when you made it official?”

“No, stop.”

“You really think you gave me signals?”

“I don’t know. Can we stop?”

He does stop. He lies back and they’re both quiet for too long and the next conversation is too incidental. This is a small stress fracture, waiting for some future pressure to open it up. This is the moment when the honeymoon ends. When they realise their shared history is actually two incompatible equations.

He now sees her as naive and flawed. She sees him as cold and capable of meanness. For the first time they’re both wondering when she will go home. 



One response to “Limerence”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: