Rhodri’s day wasn’t as much unfolding as unravelling slowly, seams frayed and picked and there he lay with he didn’t really know who. He looked towards her, focussing despite the rush, and noticed a small mole above her left breast, and from there he saw her, now, next to him, beneath him, but far away. He wanted to touch her to hold her, to reconnect the switch, but the power lines were faulty. He wanted her, but could not, as she shrank back from him and lit another cigarette; suddenly that cramped room in that vast, open building, seemed so unfamiliar. The Students’ Union – apposite. She made sense to him. He didn’t know where to turn or where to go, or if he should speak. He wanted her, still. As thoughts and words tripped over each other for space and air, he said,
‘Are you ok?’
He’d met her again, inside then outside. They’d been to a gig, but not together. They were standing outside, each, smoking single-skin spliffs. He had early onset gig sweats; she hadn’t. She’d said that the lights she couldn’t see had blinded her. He looked at the floor and forced a laugh from some untapped reserve. It felt natural. The gum tacky and discarded dog end pavement below them swam. The new moon cowered behind clouds. All humanity and no humanity once gathered inside now filtered out past them. Grebos, Crusties, Goths, Skateheads, Hipsters all in their finest tribal costumes. From another door swept the Wednesday night sports stars, stale from their stiffening games of muzakal statues. Multiple clans, immiscible, united in their solitude. Rhodri nodded and raised his spliff to indistinct faces. She said nothing to anyone, but like a clannish chameleon stood, apart, but comfortably with them all.
He still had the keys to the cloakroom, where scattered coats and inkblot stains remained. Two snooker tables, torn raffle tickets, and twisted hangers like mobiles, jostled with them for space. Streetlamps striated her back, as she blew smoke rings towards the full-length mirror propped against the Formica-topped table. The reflected wisps spread to the sides then disappeared to who knows where.
Rhodri squinted as the dying candles mirrored in the puddles around them. It felt like seconds since he had seen blood and she had seen blood and neither had felt pain as she had pressed her arms against his and the first stirrings stirred and everything he thought he knew became everything he couldn’t and he loved it and he wanted to kneel there forever with her and the clutter that kept him coming back, and now, he saw her, his eyes closed, their tongues exploring and now, their clothes about them, unclaimed coats below them, their eyes averted.
Voices. Somewhere. Not even silence to soothe them. He wanted to kiss her to ‘feed her with his kiss.’ He looked at the mole as his hand pushed back her fringe.
‘Yeah, I suppose!’ she said.
‘I want you…’ Rhodri whispered.
‘To what? What do you want me to?’ she said
‘Nothing, I don’t want you to do anything, I want…’
“’To glide with the air, I breathe?’”
‘Very funny. You know what I mean!’
‘I really don’t.’