Good Manchester Rain by Cath Bore
He’s tall and beautiful, easy to spot. Milk water skin stretched over fine china cheekbones. His quiff grows, the closer he gets. It’s impressive. The man with a thorn in his side angles his narrow hips in an elegant louche. It’s only when we’re face to face I see The Smiths t-shirt.
Really, he’s a boy with daffodils across his chest, overplaying his hand.
His words are warm and wide. He’s got a look that hurts, and eyes of Salford grey.
I cover the daffodils with me, and we’re hand in foxglove, the two of us. I bring him home and he folds the t-shirt, pauses and pats the square with his palm. He strokes it, makes it safe, before he puts his hands on me. I come a distant second, all creased party dress and quivering lace.
Afterwards, he reaches for his t-shirt, unfurls the cloth and strokes the yellow petals. Mother’s Day daffodils carry a perfume he says, but ones printed thick on cotton are the sweetest. He lifts the t-shirt for me to sniff the scent. My mouth mumbles yeah, okay, I can make it out now, and stretch my lips wide into a wow. He wrinkles his itched nose, flicking away pollen. Reckons he can taste it on his tongue.
The t-shirt clings to him, a second skin, always there between us. I start to hate it. I dream long and hard, pray for good Manchester rainfall to swell and rot the fibres. Make them separate and fall away, please, or for the rain to wash daffodils off at least. I want the water to make a man of him.
Through the window, a gun metal cloud hangs low. I take him and his t-shirt by the hand, and lead him outside. A Manchester rain dance, is there one? I do my best but my powder stays dry, no matter what. In the sky above our heads, the spiteful swell spits out low threats, promising a downpour that never comes.