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Kissing Simon Cowell

It is not as I imagined: abrupt, inattentive. It is eager and tender but, to be honest, a little too wet, although my heart still does its excited little somersault even if he is just toying with me to pass some time in this small hotel while the rest of our group are in their rooms preparing for the road-trip ahead, or maybe the hesitance I detect is a shadow of guilt for his girlfriend, the dark l’Oreal-haired woman I could never hope to compete with beyond the confines of this dream, and when he says he’s going to take a nap I still don’t know if he wants me to join him, even when he jokes about my unshaved legs and his smile reaches his eyes and he stops cleaning his teeth and steps into the hallway to call out about the efficiency of electric toothbrushes, or even when he goes down to reception via the front staircase and returns via the back, slowing as he passes my open door, a glass of water in his hand, his face as smooth as the stone linen shirt he is wearing and I ask him if I should come and lie beside him and he says yes, his voice shy, hoarse, and uncertainty rushes through me like a cold river, the memory of how I have hurt myself in the past, how regret hung its old damp clothes in the corner of my heart until they started to rot.

The water is running in the toilet cistern and I cannot stop it. I have no fancy underwear with me. If I let myself cry I fear I will never stop. I have never been any good at interpreting signs.

a flock of birds twists
against the sky
I say I’m sorry

Autumn 2011

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