An old friend visited tonight. They said they’d never really left. They were here to stay a while but this time I wasn’t allowed to lock them in a room and lose the key (or bury or throw it from the top window), or they would sue me; which I didn’t think you could do to someone who had forgotten how to smile and mean it, or be called beautiful and believe it. I carried their bags, all the same, up the stairs; the threat subsiding with the whistle of the kettle on the hob. The guest bed wasn’t made so I suggested they had mine. Their blue coat looked at home, carelessly thrown on my bedsheets. Yet their sullen off-centre stare suggested they were here out of obligation, not from any motivation other than to cause a nuisance and eat all of my biscuits. My attempt at conversation was feeble at best. We talked about the weather and when the TV programme ended I asked, ‘What’s next?’. They appeared to love and hate this question in equal measure.
‘You could go to bathe and then bed. You could paint your toe nails, mess up and start again. You could hang those photos you’ve been meaning to cherish for months. You could fall in love. Finish a book, instead of starting three more. Or you could cry as if God has decreed no more rain will fall from the sky. You could think about death and whether it puts an end to loneliness and feelings of the flesh. You could make me another cup of tea and sit with me. Or you could do as you always do, lock me in a room and throw away the key.
I left two tea bags to steep and fluffed the guest bed sheets. I had accepted my friend was here to stay, but they wouldn’t be sleeping with me.
Kristiana Reed day dreams, people watches in coffee shops, teaches English and writes. She is a curator on Blood into Ink, a collective member of The Whisper and the Roar and blogs at My Screaming Twenties. She is 24 and is enjoying the journey which is finding her voice.