25 : are you ready for another bad poem?

“Okay,” you said. “Maybe we can make this work.”

I looked at the way that your hands gripped the back of the kitchen chair. I looked at the way that your back was tensed, ready to fight. I looked at the way that you stood with the table between us, two meters of no man’s land. And when I met your eyes, it struck me that you don’t have a no-man’s land unless you are at war.

“Why?” I didn’t realise that I had said it out loud until you stared at me like I had grown an extra head.

“Fuck.” You laughed once, harshly, a gunshot. “Fuck, I don’t know. Because I love you?”

“Is that a question or a statement?”

“Jesus, stop it.”

“Stop what?!”

You looked at me, and I recoiled. I physically took a step backwards from that look in your eyes. I had seen those shades of grey a million different ways – I had seen them as clear as mirrors when the sun caught them, and I had seen them dark with sorrow. And when we first met, they had been so light. They had been the sea by my aunt’s place in Dorset when summer catches the waves. Even then, you never once looked at me as though I were a stranger. Not like this.

I don’t know what you saw in mine, but all I could think was “No.”

No, don’t look at me like that.

No, don’t just vanish the years between us.

No, don’t pretend that we haven’t seen the other stripped bare of pretences.

It never occurred to me to think “No, don’t go.”

“Are we too far gone?” I asked, quietly. Maybe if I said it quietly enough, the world wouldn’t hear.

“I think so.” You said, matching my volume. We were two children, sharing a secret in the dark. “I really think so.”


“I’m sorry.”

“I know.”