Worlds Apart

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CC Image courtesy of liyinglace on Flickr

I roll over, reach for my phone. A missed call and two messages. One of them I’ve already read – a grammatical car crash from the guy who, ten hours’ earlier, I was lip to lip with.


‘Culturally it’s very different, right?’

This is me trying to sound intelligent about China.

‘Yes,’ he says. ‘And they spit, when they talk.’

‘They spit?!’


Which is when he goes in for the kiss. Just the right amount of spit, in case you wanted to know.


So there’s him asking, ‘How was [the] rest or your night?’. And then there’s Rachel

‘I’ve got a bit of a disaster…’

It might be the first time L.K.Bennett – queen of sartorial conservatism – and ‘disaster’ have found themselves in the same sentence. Newly engaged Rachel has found a bridesmaid dress she likes and wants to know what I think. Another message, this time a picture of the sender, fresh-faced and perky, modeling an elegant lace number. I lie there, eyeliner streaked across my face, scarf wrapped around my head to muffle the midday sounds of suburban London, feeling our worlds edge that little bit further apart.

CC Image courtesy of Ben Fredericson (xjrlokix) on Flickr

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CC Image courtesy of raxenne on Flickr

you are lithe
in love with words

sexy again

you get me out of bed
you’d get me into bed
you’d stop me sleeping

you are my thoughts before my dreams
my stories star you
my poems too

come into my dreams
I dress for you
I’d undress for you
I look my best for you

I do the rest for you
I do it all for you

I do
I do

CC Image courtesy of eatmorechips on Flickr


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Sunday, midday.CC Image courtesy of torbakhopper HE DEAD on Flickr
Eyes open. Half-open. Eleven hours. Bliss. Phone flashing on the floor. Yawn. Boring. Wonder what it will be. Get up, go to bathroom. Come back, pick up phone, flop down onto bed, swipe screen. Stare. Stare some more. Laugh. Power up computer, new tab, a fragment of a URL… Yes. It’s there, it’s real. More staring. What does it mean? What should I do? Nothing, obviously, but what does it mean? And he must have done it, what… [counts hours on fingers] he was probably drunk. He’s probably regretting it now, would probably undo it if he could but he knows it would hurt me. It doesn’t mean anything, it doesn’t mean anything, but I feel so wildly, deliriously happy. I feel like skipping, and do, downstairs, to fix breakfast. It’s a gloriously sunny day and the light fills the kitchen. The cafetière is still half full from the night before – perfect. Everything’s perfect now. I can do anything – anything.

It doesn’t mean anything.


As she takes the picture I think of you. Will you see it? Will you care? Will you feel… anything? Regret? Disinterest? Will you…


We flash grins.

You should put more photos up, you said to me once, to feed me. And then you grinned, cheeky, a tad wolfish. And I felt like prey or dinner or something.

Or something. That was one of your catchphrases.

Something… anything.

It doesn’t mean anything.

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There are too many brilliant moments.CC Image courtesy of 427 on Flickr

Like when we’re caught making out on the fire escape of the club.

Joined on a bench at three in the morning, by a homeless guy with a gammy leg.

Advised by a policeman not to leave our stuff, which consists of two bags of crisps and a clutch bag, on the wall – against which we’re making out (you might spot a theme here).

VP suggesting we find a side street in which to make out, before salt and vinegar and sweet chilli and sour cream call a halt to the whole jolly business.  Which they don’t.

The moment when the bus rolls away, I look to my left, and our eyes meet.


‘Home OK?’

‘Not far off!’

I don’t tell him I’m walking the last forty minutes.  Not walking – dancing.

Falling asleep to the sound of birdsong.

Daydreaming in the park the next day, feeling my face grow hot in the sun, remembering what he said about my pale complexion.

His name appearing on the screen of my phone as I prepare dinner.

CC Image courtesy of johnnytakespictures on Flickr


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(Continued from For Old Time’s Sake)

The taxi rank comes into view.  He turns to face me.  ‘We can’t really go back to mine…’

Thin walls, apparently.

And mine really isn’t an option.

Thin walls, thin floor, thin bed…


Twenty minutes later, he’s kissing me goodnight at a bus stop somewhere south of the river.  Ingeniously, we’d decided to take a taxi not to either of our homes, but to a ‘convenient’ midpoint.  So here we are, at three in the morning, both faced with the prospect of a night bus.

‘So,’ he says, ‘just how thin is your bed?’

I laugh.  ‘Thin.’

It might not even be a single.  Ironic, huh?  Again, we kiss.

‘You were joking when you asked that, right?’ I say.

‘Err… not entirely.’

I look down the street in the direction of home. ‘Oh come on.’ I take his arm and we start walking.


On the bus, I rest my head on his shoulder.  ‘You’ll have to wait outside my room for a bit, Love Actually-style.’

I’ve just remembered, I’d put out clean sheets ready to change them when I got in.  I just hadn’t reckoned on there being someone with me.  Plus there are the bits of foliage and thread (remnants of my fancy dress costume) strewn across the bed, which will need to go somewhere.  As for the rest of it, a quick tidy probably wouldn’t go amiss.  The scene in Love Actually, where Laura Linney’s character does a quick whizz-round of her room always brings out my superior streak.  I’ll never be like that, I think, watching it.  She should be tidier.

‘Give me… five minutes.’

Which is probably exactly what she says, isn’t it, to Karl, the ‘enigmatic designer’.

In my defence, this situation shouldn’t arise. I mean, if you saw my room, you would say at once that it couldn’t, or rather, shouldn’t, accommodate a second human being.  And I would be inclined to agree.


Ben appears in the doorway.  I would say he ‘surveys’ the room, but that would be to misrepresent the facts.

‘I said the bed was thin!’ I say, smoothing the duvet.

He takes me in his arms, or tries to.

‘You take off your leaves,’ he says, ‘I’ll take off my boots.’

I laugh.  ‘I bet that’s not a line you use often.’


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