no pleasant secret is truly worth keeping
the heat has settled, a layer of grey dust over a rainbow city. the fastest of minds are slowed by its thick intrusion, each second lasts a little longer as sluggish bodies bake.
the sun was in the sands as their feet pressed into its warmth. as the water foamed across their toes, diamonds shone on the horizon. the sky fell into colours, and as tomorrow shed its veil, she wished with all her might, ‘please, let right now be the worst of my life.’
she couldn’t be sensible with the rest of them. her mother said, a lady should be sensible. a lady shouldn’t pull up her skirts before marriage, or drink too many vodka tonics. a lady should dress modestly, with clean clothes and pink lip balm.
but she couldn’t do it. they made her wild, they left stains on her skirts and ribbons in her hair, they took the silver spoon from out her mouth and replaced with a token of their own. she went dark, and wore lipstick to match.
a hundred red roses – one for every day i’ve known and loved you, his date simpers with a face full of flattery. Ted smiles nervously, rolling up the cuffs on his checkered shirt and unrolling them again, fiddling with the pearl buttons. he’d never noticed how the blue thread made a little cross in the four tiny holes before.
what’s up with you? his date says, cocking his head to the side and jutting out his bottom lip. is it the flowers? are they too red? too girly? Ted shakes his head, glancing in envy at the party-goers drifting through the restaurant – oh my, to be flower free.
who says men can’t have flowers? his date is saying, tucking a stray hair behind his Ted’s ear.
oh, it’s not the flowers. it’s not this bar, or this shirt, or this music.
it’s the hands that hold me. it’s the hundred days lost to someone who isn’t the someone i want, who isn’t the someone i want to get lost in, or get lost with.
Ted takes the flowers. thank you, he says. his date squeezes him with a smile.
he lets the fading light take over. he lets the web of sorrowed souls cradle him like a hammock, and swings into tomorrow unable to loosen the fingers that are gripped around his heart.
her lantern burned brightly with the fuel of tomorrow’s hopes and last night’s red wine; damp note paper and dried roses on her dark wood desk, glimmered in its glow.
she took the ski-lift to make it over wednesday’s mount. yet when she arrived at thursday, she wished she’d spent the ticket fare elsewhere; the view was better when she didn’t know what lay beyond.
butterflies in a dappled forest, bright turquoise, burnt orange and fushcia against the ripple of a green ocean
the sweetness of you stands against our earth’s bitter winds; you are a spoonful of sugar in tomorrow’s cloudy coffee cup.
i will not be taken down, like coloured bunting or outdated posters. i will linger here as memories do, the thick, muggy air thick with what once was and now, will always be.