had a smile from ear to ear, and from across the room, our love met amongst the bow-ties and party dresses. Our eyes hid bashfully. Hands had finished with wine glasses and wished to be held.
You kissed me on the street outside the pub on the cobbles. We left, and as we drove to my place, the alternating yellow, white and red lights moved across your face while I yearned to touch you again and again, every time your eyes were illuminated.
It was your first time. It wasn’t mine, but it might as well have been, for all that scuffles in the dark rooms at parties meant to me right then. My bedroom was freezing. You giggled in nervous excitement when you touched me. Hands wandered below embarrassing and embarrassed pyjamas. You said it was a little painful but you had liked it, and I said I was sorry and that I was glad
and we slept facing one another, with your hand in my hair and affection hanging like fog over the duvet and our resting forms.
But sex became a topic never mentioned.
We spent days in each others company, with our bodies only appearing when the lights went out.
You said that you liked the way I looked but the coldness in our bed meant that my hands grew ugly against your body. I felt guilty of my desire and my pull towards you became an anchor to my worry. A ten tonne weight kept me still at night. My touch was only ever acquiesced, so I made myself forget I could touch you at all.
I felt so small that I might have disappeared one night, under the covers, and you’d wake up and I’d had disappeared.
Sometimes it felt that going away, melting into nothing, would have been easier.
But looking over at you on that last night, I realised I had been sleeping in the shadow of your spine. I had quietly wasted away, behind your back, turned away from me, in the silence of the night.
Only the shadow of your spine.