This time

by James Sayer

It was past 10 AM as I left for the city with Nathan, but the moon was still cowering in a corner of the sky, like a child afraid of being caught awake past their bedtime. I asked him what he thought of it, he said he’d seen it before.

On the train, we sat opposite a man using his shopping list as a bookmark. He had spelt cereal with an ‘i’. When he got off the train, he tripped over the concrete. Nathan laughed but I didn’t. I was sure I’d done something like that myself once.

I had bought myself a Tango and Nathan a Sprite for the journey. I finished mine, but Nathan didn’t seem thirsty. I even opened it for him, but he didn’t drink any of it.

There were so many places I wanted to show him, but everything looked so much more beautiful at sundown, so I forced myself to wait until later before giving him the tour.

I wanted to take him shopping to kill the time, but even after all these years, I still wasn’t sure what kinds of things he would like to wear, so I decided against it. We went to the docks instead.

I sat on the bench, on the right hand side where the splattered bird shit was. I didn’t want to make him sit in it. We looked out over the water, to where the gargantuan wheel rose from the pavement, assertive and graceful. But it seemed to be closed, it wasn’t moving. Perhaps nobody was interested in seeing through its eyes.

We wrote poems, and showed them to each other when we had finished. He said mine wasn’t that great, that I’d written better ones in the past. I stared at his piece of paper, but I couldn’t see his poem, no matter how hard I tried. I wondered what he had written.

I wanted him to hear this new song I’d found. It was by the same band that was playing in the background the first time we kissed. I’d always been the one to take notice of irrelevant little details like that. I wondered if he remembered too. I took one headphone out of my ear, and tried to place it into his, but it kept falling out and wouldn’t stay where I put it, so I let it drop and hang from the wire instead. Perhaps he could still hear it from there.

I couldn’t think of what he would say about it. I’d run out of ideas.

It’s tiring thinking for two, you know.

I got up and walked away from the bench. I wondered why he hadn’t done the same. I looked back and I knew he was still sitting where I had left him, even though I couldn’t see him anymore.

In time I was manoeuvring my way through the crowds; the assembled ranks of couples claiming their territory with clasped talons.

He didn’t come after me, and I walked alone with my hand dangling by my side – not in the way hands naturally dangle, but slightly away from my body, as though it were entwined in another. A hand of air.

My hand grew colder with each swing:

Maybe this time…

Maybe this time…

this time… someone like him would be there to take it.

James Sayer is a first year Creative Writing student at Edge Hill University.

  1. #1 by rachealjosephpoet on July 13, 2015 - 7:31 am

    What a lovely story. Perfect in its simplicity. Great work James. Hope to read more in the future.

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