Kneeling in gravel surrounded by plastic fumes, you search for beauty wherever you can. She stared at the sun through the prick of a steel gable, rusted from disinterest, and took one last deep drag to the filter before flicking a dog-end towards a mottled drain. He sits uncomfortably on upturned crates, the jagged plastic leaving a distinctive pattern of civilisation’s streets on his arse cheeks. He looks up to a single light, brighter than the moon but as artificial as the polyester shirt covered in sweat and grease that causes him to itch on Fridays. He avoids the neon glare of glasses on a stone boulder face and instead looks for landmarks, as subtle as the teeth in a comb. A silouetted hillside, one single mound more than just a trick of the tired eyes. He can smell pet food everywhere, even around a drunk colleague who sips Jack Daniels in the staff room at 3am whilst the TV plays static in his face. A man waiting for a ghost to emerge from the noise.
She is torn between the warm carpets and the cold reality. Separated by two doors are two distinct lies – professionalism and happy workers. She bridges them both as she rams her hand down another toilet, dreaming of June and two weeks when she can take off all her clothes, change the locks and sit in the executive office playing on a decrepid Game Boy.
He emerges to dawn, as she leaves to the same. The sun sets on one day and sets to another of hope. Both of them are surrounded by detritus. He walks alone through the paper and plastic of a forgotten retail park, she drives past warehouses with hollow windows, where the sun shines through trying to find signs of life like a beam searching for atoms.
Both will hear the cymbals crash. Pet food smells, lorries, terrible strip clubs and milk cabinets will become irrelevant. He flings open the doors and allows the rats in, his skin covered in a layer of icy sweat, hair all nonsense now. She welcomes the erudite man with a genuinely fake smile, as her sabotage begins havoc and metal crashes against each other. Toilets overflow with shit and paper, sinks explode in limescale and hair, oil seeps from gangrenus industrial wounds. Railway tracks buckle in a futile but meaningful show of support.
As they leave, they tune into a memory. He remembers fucking her in front of a roaring fire, his great spermatic climax occuring just in time for the accusing headlights in the driveway, the frantic scrabbling of clothes before the parents amble back in. She remembers all those games of pool in the dingy pub, beating him again and again, refusing his pathetic cock and weak shoulders but entranced by eyes that burned with passion. Together they meet in a stolen car, and as the cymbals crash again and the guitars burst into a wall of noise, they are spectacular again….
….as they always were.