1. Nine

    The tiger’s gone. On tour. This morning. I wanted to take him to the airport but he said it was a stupid idea, which it was, sitting for forty minutes each way on the rattling blue of the Piccadilly line at six in the morning. So I woke up to the smell of him, the slam of a door, and the echo of a kiss on my temple.

     

    London in the sun. Raucous and proud. I found breakfast at a deli: eggs, toast, and chilli jam, and licked crumbs from my lips as I looked for the printer’s. The streets are filled. Scaffolders, street sweepers and tall head-scarfed women. The copy shop smelt of ammonia, which reminded me of dad. The man at the counter was eating mackerel and beans. Brixton is full of endless food.

     

    I took one hundred CVs back North of the river and filed them in my desk. I’d meant to pound the streets with them but my shoes were falling apart and I felt suddenly raw at the loss of him. Tiger. Funny how that needs to be clarified. I took my shirt and my shoes off and lay on the bed, listening to the radio tuning itself in and out, and trying not to think about any of it.

     

    I dreamed I was at a station, in the dead of night, waiting for a train that never came. A mist of rain hanging over the platforms, bare and empty. I heard footsteps behind me. Avi walking from the ticket office towards me. She smiled that horrible, fluoride smile, held me, and whispered something in my ear.

     

    I woke up to white noise and the smell of three in the morning. The daylight turned to vapour and left me stranded in the night, wide awake and lonesome. I made an omelette. Eggs twice in one day. I took my coat from the door and walked up and down the roads, looking for something to make the sleeplessness disappear, and found a fox under a railway bridge, nosing at a rubbish bin. He turned to me. We held each other’s gazes for what felt like forever, and for a moment I thought he was going to say something. The walls had graffiti on. I read them as a freight train lumbered slowly over the steel above. ‘Follow’, it said. Like an instruction. I turned back to the fox, but he was gone. An empty road: a line of streetlamps leading off to nothing. A clock chimed in the distance and I walked home as the sun came up, remembering what Avi had whispered to me in the dream.

     

    ‘I have important information,’ she’d said.

     

    Bullshit. I’m going crazy.

     
  2. Look at that beautiful poster. Look at it! A joy! A wonder! A beautiful thing gone forever, like a puppy left on a train.

    (Source: halfmoonpart)