Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Sophie stared at the film that had developed on the top of her coffee for several seconds. The microwave was dirty and everything in the kitchen was covered with a sour smell. The drains were blocked throughout the entire building and the words hung in the air like nicotine. He said she bought him down and she looked at the cellulite patterns that had bitten her thighs during their relationship. 
  Walking down the King’s Road she felt tears on her cheeks but the only people around were young people who were partnered in ones and twos and threes. They rustled swear words through the breeze and for a while Sophie walked ten paces behind them letting their laughter run over her. She thought about calling out to one of them, ‘Hey what’s going on tonight?’ Eventually they slouched onto the skeleton of a yellow bus that was going out to the suburbs. 
 Sophie tried to imagine herself at the doors of several different colleagues, her jaw locked as they asked her, ‘What’s the matter hun?’ 
 She’d grind her teeth and they’d say, ‘Are you working on the Sullivan project Soph? Jeez we’ve got to be up early haven’t we?’ 
 A few years after Sophie has stopped bleaching her hair and using mascara she realised that during conversation she could watch pupils ticking back and forth like the hands of a clock. Men and women glanced behind her and counted the seconds they had to spend talking. 
  Sophie crossed the road and walked towards a homeless man who was resting in the cool darkness of a tall doorway. She looked into the shadows.‘Thank you miss! That has made my day!’ he would say as she placed a 50pence piece in his hand. Next to his sleeping body a giant Alsatian, growled and brushed the pavement with his left paw. She cleared her throat, “Excuse me!” The man did not stir when she raised her voice, “Hello there!” She sat down on the step and looked at the dog, noticing chunks of vomit between his ears. Sticky threads of yellow weaved through his fur and sealed one of his eyes half shut. The dog cocked his head and growled at her again.

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