Thursday, 29 May 2014


A confession: sometimes when I am leaving a busy place—a train platform, for instance, or a cinema after the credits come up—I let myself accidentally-not-accidentally fall into step with someone next to me. I do not mention it and I do not look in their direction, but I judge their step and balance it with my own, so we are walking side by side, not quite touching. It is a delicate thing. They are not supposed to know and we are not supposed to talk. But for those few moments, acutely aware of our arms’ proximity, I do not feel alone. We are at the end of a long day; our relationship is close enough to allow for this companionable silence. We walk next to each other and I am tempted to let it go on forever. I will follow them by their side until eventually we get to their house and climb the stairs and spend the night sitting on their sofa, silently, comforted by our companionable arms. But I don’t. I hold onto the moment for as long as possible—a breath in the back of my lungs—and then they turn a corner or duck into a shop, and I barely miss a beat. I keep on walking. I come back to my house. I sit and I run the tips of my fingers over the skin of my arms. I tell myself it is nice here. It is so peaceful to come back to a house alone.

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