Little, tiny fingers. I kissed them. I pushed them to my cheek. She was so familiar, so warm, so soft- but not fat. I think I would have cried if I wasn’t where I was. That moment there was so much energy between us that I don’t think there was enough left for the rest of the world. There’s only so much energy and at that point, we had it all.
“I kept track of you, you know. I kept all your letters, watched all the news about you, read all the papers. Just wanted to know you were getting on alright,” she said. “Sorry it’s taken so long, been hard, I mean, harder for you course but still, hard.” She was almost crying, you know all blurry eyed and red faced. I didn’t want to talk about the past, I wanted to forget it, talk about new stuff.
“Tell me about what you’ve been doing, you’ve got an hour and 40 minutes to tell me everything you’ve been doing in the last 6 years.” We sat forward in our seats, holding hands. She told me how she’d got it sorted. Living in London. Living with mates, having a laugh. Any men? No. Any Kids? No. Any chance? Yes, maybe. She was making me laugh again. She told me little stories about her mad nights out in London, like when her mate got so drunk and pissed herself laughing on the number 23 bus. She was working in a shop, said she liked it there. Didn’t pay much but it was a good laugh, she worked in a bar in the evenings sometimes. Said that the dirty old pervs were always trying to take her on dates. She threw a pint over one man and slapped him round the face ‘cos he touched her leg. I told her about Daz, about how good he’s been and how nosey. Told her a couple of stories that I had. About how we make toasties in toastie bags. Told her how I’m doing an English course and learning how to string words together. She said she noticed that my spelling was good in my letter. Didn’t tell her I had Ben’s help on that one.
“Still see your dad?”
“Fuck my dad,” she said and I wished I hadn’t asked. I looked at the can of drink, the half eaten tart, anywhere but at her. “No, I don’t. No time for him now, he doesn’t try and when he does we just row. So no, why do you?” Didn’t like her tone on that. Knew I shouldn’t have brought him up.
“Course not,” I said. Needed to change the subject. “You reckon you’ll come again?”
“You want me to come again?”
“I don’t have to answer that.” I smoothed her face, she rubbed against it like a kitten. Ten minutes left. Gotta get ready to say goodbye. Didn’t know how to let her go. Just felt right her being slotted into my body. Like before when we were together and then she’d go I’d get that feeling like I’d left something on the bus. Me and Old Fruit used to do Puzzles and there was always one bit missing, I think I knew where she was.
She was coming back to see me when I was out, not long. She said she’d come up for my days out next month. She said that we’d eat out, go to the cinema and have a laugh like before. She’d be there I just had to let her know where and when.
“I can’t help with, you know, I can’t pay.”
“I never wanted your money James.” Times up. Goodbye, it’s been great. Now if you’d leave without tears and without fuss that’d be great. Step aside James, routine search, strip. That’s one way to ruin a visit. I wanted to go back to my room, think over those last two hours but instead I was standing bare ball-ed being patted down and prodded.