Am I sure?
He fixes the zip to my back, mutters something about a sharp scratch.
I have been instructed to curve my body “like a shrimp” so my spine curls towards him. I have a beautiful back, he tells me. Elegant. I don’t feel elegant, sitting on the metal table, feet resting on a stool with my knees under my chin. My jumper is yanked up around my ears, pale stomach exposed beneath folded arms.
In the mirror, I see the essence of us pouring from my body in a riot of colour and chaos; of course you would be the rainbow I carried around inside me.
Neon green cycling shorts. A disco ball. Sunshine and mojitos. Coconuts, Christmas lights and stories in the dark. The corner where we fell apart, where we said “catch you later” because we don’t do “goodbye”.
I watch. I burn.
New images; memories we didn’t get to make. Shingled cottage by the sea. Two rocking chairs, side by side.
It hits. It hurts.
The zip knits my skin back together. Gone, I think, and even as the word unfurls like smoke, I lose my grip on you. I need air. I have no destination in mind but my feet carry me forward. I focus on other things; birdsong, footsteps, the first fat drops of September rain.
I reach a corner where two suburban streets intersect. The houses are pastel painted; neat, unremarkable. There are herbs in the window boxes. Rosemary on the wind. A fine mist gathers about me, working at my collar then my sleeves to gain entry and make a nest of the cavern in my chest. It fails. Dissipates.
I button my coat against the peculiarity of the day and set off, in search of tea and happiness.