Smoking Caterpillar

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I trace my names in the dust and wait to see which one the wind removes first. Flashback – I blink and I’m standing in a cupboard carving the word ‘CUNT’ in such huge strokes that to the unaware it appears so many random scratches in the paintwork, but I can see it. Over time I’ll add the names, great swoops of undecipherable code until the wall is a Pollock of frustration and petty vengeance.

Blink again. All the way back to now, standing in a cupboard. No scratches on the wall, just a pile of towels waiting for new owners. Dim echoes in the corner of voices now speaking aloud elsewhere. Faces, thumbnails on boxes. A chuckle, the blare of a gameshow, the smell of soap and sweat mingled, the same damn carpet.

Like the phantom I glide under your doors again. Not worth looking down or sneering at the housekeeper when we possess the skeleton keys to your filled closets. The businesswoman with scraped back hair and high heels barks orders into her phone in a pin striped suit sharp enough to cut diamonds, taking her best teddy bear in a suitcase to cuddle up to when the light falls and the phone is silent. He’s the World’s Best Dad and he takes the battered, dog eared birthday card on every trip away from home – it’s the last thing he sees before he closes his eyes. The older couple, celebrating decades together married and sleeping in separate rooms; but the doors are next to each other and they emerge at the same time immediately clasping hands like a glass pane has been removed from between two powerful magnets. A young man stares into his laptop, anxious to be missing out on the fast pace of civilisation and ignoring the small army of daffodils waving adoringly at him from the terraces.

I slip out quietly and it’s warm but the air is moist. I’ll drive home with the window down getting exquisite pleasure from feeling my hair dancing for the first time in a while as it slowly grows out. Still naked without a beard. Still cries at a good film. Still kissing with saliva. Darting out from behind the glinting red eyes of puzzled faces, I hurtle towards clouds like small black islands in an ochre coloured sea, looking forward to unmolested sleep.

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We’ll never know. They ran out of wet concrete.

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