'Pranks' by Lydia Allison

 I've been doing things to you. Just little things. This afternoon, I dripped little silver pins on the stairs. I counted them, winking at me. I will collect them tomorrow, before I hoover, but for now I've left them for you to find. This morning, I switched off the hot water while you were in the shower, then denied it when you stumbled downstairs, half foam and half cold frustration.

     I think it comes from hate. We stopped that, though, didn't we? Screaming. So now, this is it. I leave my keys in the lock, hanging from the inside of the door so that, coming in, yours won’t fit. I plug my dead earphones in and wander to where you can see me from your outside prison. I hear the muffled thumping of your gloved hands. Eventually I notice you and smile and say sorry sorry sorry when you come in and we both force the laughs, me just lying, and you feigning belief.

     I went through your bag and took the ink cartridges out of your pens, I changed your phone’s language to Ukranian and swapped the password on your computer to something I don’t even remember. I've been hiding things too: your navy tie, USB stick, watch.

I sold your favourite album on Ebay and I’ve been stealing bits of change you leave scattered around the house. Bedside table - 20p, sideboard - 52p, pocket - 5p. I set your alarm clock back two hours and dried your shirts outside because I know the pollen upsets your sinuses.

     Oh, I hate you. Now when we argue, I laugh like a child; thinking about how I flushed your expensive coffee and threw away halves of your pairs of socks. I told the neighbours you were having a breakdown, I told your mother you attacked me, I replaced your peanut butter with tahini and pulled the last pages out of your latest book.

     Tomorrow, I’m going to say, see you tonight, and I’m going to pack your favourite case, and, on the bus, I’m going to laugh and laugh at you: living in neutrality, in petty hate, small unproven crimes.

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