I have tried to capture a mature and melodramatic memories of a loved one.
|Afterwards, he'd always wonder where exactly it began.
Memory has a strange way with an ageing mind; alleys leading into lanes between giant houses with shabby walls and soft lights, an evening, the stars dying on an asphalt-like sky, a tree, incandescent and a route onto the big street - painted in rich neon and the grating sound of night traffic.
The car swerved and they hit a road they'd never taken.
Darkness around them, the hum of a tired engine and the faint, stale breath of the driver.
He hated being out here. There was so little left to say, words seemed immovable, the stench of revulsion flowing like thick black tentacles.
When he looked at her face, he felt a tear in his chest, a pain so intense it felt like his skin was on fire. Her eyes, were lanterns in the night, her lips, a cavern leading endlessly - to a pink time, an impressionist painting, dumped in the ditch behind their bedroom.
He made the first drink; plastic bottles for the chaser, vodka carried in the pocket.
At first, it felt weird -
Did alcoholics begin, by drinking in the car?
Was it the norm, a rite of passage to hit it hard, as the car sped past shadow-drenched lanes and phantom highways?
The music helped. unleashing a soft trail, imaginary raindrops, rainbow and footprints at the back of their brain, leading deeper and deeper into a well - at the other side of which lay midnight and forgetting pride.
They sucked it in deep, pushing the beats and beginning to find a rhythm, a hymn almost, to follow into where their lives were turning.
Behind were jaded avenues, cookie-cutter homes and tenderness, a snatch of pity, a long drag into the safety of casually manicured relationships, stone cold dead now, and only the scent of each other, a trace of what once was.
It was at that moment - he knew, that to love her, to love himself - or shine a torch into what sense of identity was left, they'd always have to be this: night geometry, faint spirals on ceilings that passing headlights make, phosphorescent algae swimming in harmony towards the shore.