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Sunday was the best day. Our first full day together. In retrospect, Sunday was a perfect day, but one never realises such a thing at the time; no, not until they’re allowed to look back, removed, alone most likely, like a sepia photograph, are they able to conclude that it was indeed quite a perfect day. In the cramped overground swamped with a thousand American football fans, dressed colourful & playfully, talking like children, drunk, sweetly joyous, the sun shone in brightly, a thick heat on her, on us, October, she leaned into me, beating the occasion against my chest, the badge on her coat, smelling like hair and the indescribable of someone you’re drawn to: a matter of understanding that the moment would be impressed upon all the things you smile at. For three stops she stayed like that, nervously holding the remnants of an over-priced & over-sized brownie. The weather was so good and I was glad everyone was there because I was having a perfect Sunday and it was yet to hit me in the face.

She got back to mine at one in the morning, maybe just after, drenched in rain & cigarettes, wet hair tangled in knots and ready for bed. I’d missed her and had been sad. She smelled of outside and I probably smelled of silly reasons to be sad. Most of all I wanted to sleep beside her. She translated the cold wet of Peckham into a language I could understand and held it an inch from my nose.

In the morning we swum in & out of sleep. We put dents into the radiator at half-six, when everything was still grey & groggy. I thought I might die putting dents into the radiator. It would have been a good way to die, putting dents into the radiator like that and all the paint falling off. I lay there, laughing hysterically, and she cleaned me like a cat. We fell asleep until noon and then I fed her breakfast while the sunlight came through the blinds and made exclamation marks on my face like a silent film.

Autumn is terrible at making its mind up; nothing is ever certain, one knows not how to act or dress, but they know it’s getting worse. Things were crystal blue and rounded with white when we went to the restaurant, and crowds meandered through the market. 'You ever have orgasms that are so good you’re like—“I didn’t deserve an orgasm that good, must’ve been a mistake”?’ ‘Definitely not.’ Sundays don’t have to be terrible. When you’re in such good company it’s difficult to imagine a time when you were alone, when you put ‘obituary’ on the scrabble board, when you imagined everyone dressed in black, but it’s there and the taste at the back of your throat is a little sweeter. There was a pulled muscle in my leg and I took her to a restaurant we’d been to before. We sat where we’d sat before. So much else was different. Other couples walked past, and I guess we were regarded by the pedestrians caught up in bargains and somewhere for lunch, just for a moment, long enough to see what we’re eating, to consider us carefully as thirty-somethings, I don’t know, the whole carnival of millennial hell. Her eye makeup, her hair, the freckles she had all year round, her constant outbursts of ‘Fuck!’ Nothing unnatural in the chain restaurant, bad service and way we were.

And then the café was sort of busy, sort of afternoon limp; a hissing machine punching white holes in the background chatter, which is all very poetic but there are a million cafés like that. I bought her a brownie, which, lying, I said I would share with her. We walked through the streets and she ate the brownie and drank her coffee, burning her tongue.

‘This brownie is going to kill me.’

We got off the train, sighed in relief, and discarded our coffee cups into the bin. Blissful cold air ran across us. The park was muttering to itself, the grass very bright, patches of mud from the trainer soles & rain glistened like panting athletes, Georgian houses stood guard. There were families walking with prams; people using the work-out equipment, pacing between sets, bobbing slow or fast, taught; two men kissing on the bench; a dog shooting off from its owner, for the latter to stop, call the hound from a squirrel and curse their jogging partner. We skirted round puddles, talking; we always talked; silence never got a word in round us.

She got the first round in although it was my turn to lean against her, waiting for the glass. We sat outside (away from the TV screens broadcasting football (my team)). She (we) mistook one barman for another and he stared at us (while changing barrels (but they, and the barrels, all looked so similar)). It was the sixth.

The air had a nip in it. Young families sat in front of us, their scabby toddlers being chased hither & thither, trying to climb stairs, pushing doors, staring at punters, tipping over bowls of water for the dogs; their parents smiling and waddling back & forth, trying to maintain conversation with the other Americans. When all the children formed a choir (quartet) of scream & crying, the two families stood up, collected their gear, stacked it carefully into & under the prams and made off into the early evening. The place became a little busy with people putting the finishing touches to their weekend. Everyone had their eyes half-closed, their soul the colour orange. We sat side-by-side, she & I. In my mind I made a dozen notes of how things were, so that, should I sit down at a keyboard, I would not be lost for words, and yet here I am! It was no use; nothing would be recorded; neither of us had taken a photo for three days. It started to rain. For seven minutes it lashed and the wind tormented all in great strands of anger, ripping leaves from their umbilical cords and swinging signs until it died down and the sun returned more gold & cobalt than before, a telephone mast in the background pricked magnificently in angles sublime. She played with my hair, dug her nails into my skull, fingered the nape of my neck, draped her legs across me and I held on as though she might, surmising it was all folly, flee at any moment. We felt the cold wind blow across the garden, wind that ran away from the park, wind that ran toward the working week. (This song! it meant so much to me at one point that I couldn’t listen to it, but then I smiled at how it weighed so little. She looked at me funny. ‘It’s a great song,’ I said, smiling, a little weightless.) The pub parasols shook. I thought they might blow up and down the street; she thought they might decapitate everyone in sight. I squeezed her thigh, feeling each muscle and tendon. Love’s seed is two people sitting in a cold beer garden on a Sunday evening. ‘I could get another round in, sit here all night.’ She looked at me; I knew what the look meant. I told her we should urinate and then get an uber home—‘It’s probably more romantic.’ I could have sat there forever, feeling the shape of her tights, the warmth of her soft, the smell of ashtrays and spilled beer. It seemed a synonym of duvet.

I had a new graduate engineer under my tutelage. As he sat there getting to grips with the filing system, I pointed at him and asked—‘What’s your favourite film?’ Two favourite films; one I had seen, one I hadn’t. I went and bought the one I hadn’t because he hadn’t paused when I asked him the question. Because he hadn’t pause when I asked the question, I liked him. (I would like him from two years ago until now, and further still.) She and I watched the film I had seen. She kept her hands on me. I wanted to rejoice! to tell her how happy I was that her hands were on me, that I adored her and had built a church in her name — instead I sat there, meowed like a fool and asked if she wanted pizza for dinner. We shared pizza. The pizza was good. I brought the pizza in from the front door and she was there waiting for it. Side by side, we ate the pizza.

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It seemed things were winding down: the American families had left, their kids too; the dog’s water had spilled; Sunday night football had ended with many upsets that dated back to the nineties, the weather shifted to October’s eight prickly fingers tickling our necks. I didn’t want her to leave. I knew she would return. I didn’t want her to leave. I would be waiting. Amongst joy’s division, I would wait, dreaming of autumn & of her.

A collection of writings, poems and stories by the anonymous author ~  contact

Ah, we’re an ungrateful race! When I look at my hand upon the window sill and think what pleasure I’ve had in it, how it’s touched silk and pottery and hot walls, laid itself flat upon wet grass or sun-baked, let the Atlantic spurt through its fingers, snapped blue bells and daffodils, plucked ripe plums, never for a second since I was born ceased to tell me of hot and cold, damp or dryness, I’m amazed that I should use this wonderful composition of flesh and nerve to write the abuse of life. Yet that’s what we do. Come to think of it, literature is the record of our discontent.
T H E   E V E N I N G   P A R T Y Virgina Woolf