By sarah wilson
Affair - Origin: earlier affaire replacing Middle English afere
In the morning, when you are stretching and ready to leave the island that is our bed, I will notice a tiny, corkscrew curl on the nape of your neck. I will want to reach out and touch it but stop, reminding myself that this level of intimacy is not for us.
A strange affair, an affair of the heart; current affairs; where do we fit?
I knew of course, talked myself in and out of it for weeks before it happened, prepared for the inevitable, even told myself I didn’t mind. And I don’t, mostly.
But that curl will taunt me. “I am not yours” it will say as it bounces into the bathroom with you attached. “I belong to somebody else,” and the door will close.
The sound of the shower will force me back into reality and I will yawn before stepping, naked, over to the kettle. I will fiddle with the complimentary coffee sachet and end up putting in two because one is not enough. But two is too many. I will switch on the television and try to take in a little breakfast news, but my mind will be on your departure; the other you that will leave me here in twenty minutes and turn on your Blackberry and tell effortless lies.
I have spent many minutes trying to work out what percentage of you I have. I have plotted graphs and drawn lists and painted pictures in the salty tears that fall on the spiral bound pad. I am no closer to knowing.
Then, watching you dress, clean and glowing from the over hot shower, scrabbling into boxer shorts and socks sticking on hot, damp flesh I will shudder. I cannot touch you then. You have washed me off.
You will bend down and brush your lips against my cheek and my smile will be the last you see of me for a while, a smile that deceives; in the morning when you are dressing and readying yourself for your other life, I will be grief stricken.
The door will close and when I know that enough time has passed for you to have started the car and driven away, I will make my way into the bathroom which still smells of you and stand in the puddle you have left by the bath. As the water surrounds my toes, my heart will hurt and I will lift world weary legs and turn on the shower. The water will sting and burn and you will be a memory.
I know this. But for now, in the golden evening light, with a glass of dry white and the glint in your eye, I am happy.