Don’t you remember anything?
That was me
who you saw there
standing on the platform
as the train pulled in
the train pulled out
I expected you to walk on
to reach me
but the window
and the widow
and you were no
George came home early on Thursdays, but this time Martha had forgotten. She didn’t hear the sound of the mortise key as scraped inside the lock, as she lay basking in the warmth of the bed. Roger was by her side. Her mind was on other things as George arrived back at the house, and she lay in blissful denial of her husband as the sound of his boots scraped the polished boards of the stairs and landing.
“Martha love – I’m home.”
The rabbit clicked next to her, and Martha, who was in love, looked back affectionately. Just as the door to the bedroom was about to open she realised that her husband was home, and thrust her plastic partner under the bedclothes. She had not flicked the switch, and it continued to talk, softly, as George sat next to her on the white cotton bedspread and put his hand over to her head to stroke her hair.
“Are you okay – you look exhausted. Here, I’ll get you a cup of tea.”
Hanging on the side of a dream. That’s what he always said – Frank – when they staggered home each night, drunk and leery and in love with the world. To sleep on the porch, ready for the daily alarm, morning dew kissing their skin, safe in the swirling embrace of the ground. Kathleen never cared, she loved to feel the warmth of the sun as the day awoke.
A night like every other, they had started early, wine and bottled beers. Then it was on the move, to see the locals, the friends, perhaps back for an innocent coffee, or to swear togetherness by the side of the river, the summer sun setting its golden reflection down into the water.
One last time then. Once more. Kathleen stroked his head. The skin was greasy under his hair, streaks of the brilcreem silvery across his scalp. Frank had such lovely hair. Black as coal, she’d say, and they’d laugh. Laugh at themselves, at his dark hair and her blonde, at how they looked to be at opposites. To each other. And then they’d be unable to resist each other, and they’d fall into each others arms. Once again. Tonight. It wasn’t time for summer to end.
She walked across the yard, straight up and naked, as Frank lay unconscious. The morning breeze was warm against her breasts, and as the sun caught her skin she wondered what time it was, and whether she cared. The dew had long since dried from the grass. The air was still fresh and clear though, so still early in the day, before the heat made everything stale.