I look for you in all things. I learn to play snooker in Glasgow. My eyes form a bridge with the light from the door. Then I kiss you and the sky opens up with a huge cavity in the clouds that I try to fill it with the smoke from my cigarette.
My blue blocker lenses make everything beautiful. On the plane to California, a famous guitarist sits a few seats up. We forget him quickly in the burnt hills of Malibu, in the smell of sagebrush in Santa Barbara, in the sunset at Pismo Beach. San Simeon. Driving on the foggy cliffs with the top down and the heat on. Big Sur. The soulful redwoods. The seals in Monterey. And all the time, missing and missing.
A foreign couple, French, made sandwiches on a bench in the cement courtyard. They don’t know that if they walk a few more blocks they can sit on the grass by the Charles. I will never tell them.
A broken tooth during a snowstorm and I go to that cheap dentist again. He pulls it out and warns of dry socket. I stand at the bus stop with a sodden wad of gauze covering the wound. Next time, I will try the chain dentist. He and his sassy assistant will get into a fight and he will tell me he’s passing a kidney stone, wincing and sweating as he works on my root canal.
I mention a name to get a reaction. Watch one dog walk towards the other, head down, back straight as if there’s no other way. Two joggers pass one another. The sound of feet on pavement and breathing is not alien to me.
The man putting his money in behind me at the T who looks like he wants to kill. The drunken man on the train platform needs attention, but no one is willing to give it to him.
If you can be quiet for just one minute you can hear all of the strange life. I like sitting in my cold, dark kitchen alone, drinking wine. Winter, wrap me in your thin arms and I will rejoice.
Myfanwy Collins’s debut novel is Echolation (Engine Books, 2012). I Am Holding Your Hand, a collection of her short fiction, is available from [PANK] Books. The Book of Lancy, a YA novel, is out from Lacewing Books.