• Pippa

Something to look forward to

Inspired by Kate Wyver -

I wake up feeling the heat of her body beside mine. I’m groggy but I know this heat feels different to before. I turn to meet her closed eyes level with mine and kiss her lips, knowing she will smile once I do so. My smile reflects hers as our sleep-encrusted eyes meet and we share another kiss, each taking it in a fraction longer than normal; an extra heartbeat we both feel drum inside us. We inhale. We exhale. We have time. This feels new. This feels naughty. This feels special. I could weep.

When we cook breakfast we are keen to return to a rhythm that’s been lost, one chopping, one scrambling tofu, one measuring chucking in spices. One listens, one directs. We bump hips to the music. We laugh. She wraps her arms around my now-squidgier bits and nuzzles into my neck. I smell her.

When the plates are scraped and cleared we depart for our own journeys; to see friends. Friends no longer the size of our hands on screens but friends in full 3D with all their limbs and clothing to appreciate in wonder. She and I know we will see each other later. This tiny certainty feels overwhelming.

I plug my earbuds into my ears and play that queer 80s-inspired popstar I no longer childishly pine for now I know love in the flesh again. My hand holds onto the tube escalator handrail automatically but my brain jolts to remind me this sticky warm black snake has been the thing of my nightmares for months. I inhale and catch someone’s eyes on the escalator ascending past me. Something tells me they’ve just had a haircut.

When I arrive at my friends place, I am greeted by salutations and exclamations and bodies. We hug, we look at each other, we feel each other, hands trace each others’ backs before falling by our sides. The others are here. I see copies of the same book sprawled on the carpet. The same hugging ritual repeats for each person, none of them rushed. We giggle late into the night, everyone excited to listen and to share. I notice someone is saying less but taking in more. I put my hand on their knee and give them a squeeze.

After our stories of self-revelation and tears and jokes about hummus we are all very sad to go. Like a child on their 6th or 7th birthday. I walk to the tube in a group of 3. We reflect on the evening and how important it has been. And how little we spoke about the book that united us in the first place.

I place my hand on the black snake again and start to relax into its steady movement. Is this snake really my sign of normality?

I use citymapper to navigate my way to the restaurant. Of course I get lost, my heart racing, underarms sweating as I struggle to remember how to orienteer myself from the small black lifeline in my palm. The waiter shows me to our table to where she is. We hug and kiss, always aware, still, of our surroundings and who is there. Will this change now too? We hope.

We order way more than we ever have before. Excited by new tastes and blends and sensations. We get dessert wine like boujie bitches and plan our journey to visit mum the next day.

Giddy with giggles we stumble onto the bus. I slap my oyster joyfully against the reader, hear the beep and run to the upstairs deck. Front seat. The best. In my head I pretend I'm driving. I look out and see London in the evening- women staggering out of a pub, men smoking in the streets. The bus is noisy. We eavesdrop on the conversations and hold hands in our seats.

I look forward to getting home and telling the others about my day and hearing what they've got up to. We laugh at how absurd it all sounds and it's weird to feel so happy for them.

As we retire to bed I realise she has already got me a glass of water. I look forward to seeing mum tomorrow. More hugs to be had but felt in new, different ways.

I feel the heat of her body once again in my bed. I can relax. We close our eyes and fall asleep in each other's arms. I know I will wake up no longer in her embrace, but knowing her heat will be there is what makes me know everything will be okay.

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