The sound of steps is so altered.
Where rubber soles once padded under slight frame–
shuffled, really, not stepped–
there now echoes wooden heels:
click-clicking across the room,
into my mind.
‘You’re off now?’ I ask.
She smiles slow, red lips revealing white teeth.
‘I am,’ she says. ‘For the rest of the night.’
I take her hand,
lead her home.
The city is alive around us:
buzzing and squalling in the night,
awake in a world of sleepers.
I used to think it strange,
being conscious at three a.m.
Now it seems wrong not to be.
When I look at her next,
her eyes radiate neon:
pink and green from artificial light.
‘I love this place,’ she tells me.
‘So do I,’ I whisper back.
A cab ride later and we’re back in Islington
at our little flat in Crouch End.
The rugs smell like cat piss
and the walls are stained,
but we don’t have time to clean.
Not on the weekends.
Not at three a.m.
All we have time for
is a quick drink,
Tomorrow will be another day.
She slips off her pumps when we walk in the door,
dropping back down to the height I know.
She tugs off her earrings, the pearls shining bright
(her lobes are red from the added weight).
As we head for the bedroom
I watch her unfold:
sequins and stockings sliding to the floor,
wig and long lashes disposed upon the dresser.
He wipes at the lipstick
and musses his hair.
‘I turned my ankle.’
‘I know,’ I say.
His smile is slow, his hands are sweet
as he pushes back my hair.
And he wiggles and grins in his paisley skirt
when my eyes light up at him.
I tug him down and switch off the light
to stave off sleep a while.
when my mother rings us after Mass,
I’ll have to ask her the best way
to wash my boyfriend’s lipstick
off my neck.
1 April 2006
© Charlie Pevensie