I usually ask him this before he leaves the flat. I go inside and
close the door, worrying if the neighbours have overheard. If they
have overheard, they will think I am treating him like a child. I take
the key from my pocket and double-lock the door.
I can still taste his kiss in my mouth. Underneath the sweet
bitterness of the orange there is something cold and flat. Something
metallic. I shiver though it is warm. "S.L." I imagine she is blonde.
Silvery ash-blonde and petite. "S.L." has a silveriness about it.
Ivan's hair is also blond. He has started to go grey at the temples.
They must have made a perfect couple to look at. I bet her shoulder
tucked neatly into the pit of his arm when they walked side by side.
His arm draped across the back of her neck, his large hand
protectively enclosing her other shoulder. I bet he would turn from
time to time and nuzzle his nose into her sweet-smelling hair. Breathe
into it. I have never walked down a street with Ivan. I don't know how
we would fit walking side by side in the street. If he prefers to walk
on the inside or on the outside of the pavement. If he has a tendency
to lean into me or me into him. If he veers to the right or the left
or walks straight ahead.
Ivan is gone but his presence lingers. It is like that every day after
he leaves. Bits of him still here waiting to catch him up. It will
last until twelve o'clock and then I will begin to miss him.
I move down the passageway to the treatment room and fill a glass with
water and rinse my mouth three times.
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