'Just the Two of Us' by Roz Levens.

I’ve got a new neighbour. Me. The woman next door is me. I think she knows she’s me - well, kind of. I think she thinks I’m her, if you see what I mean, but she’s wrong. I was here first, so that makes me, me, and not me, her. Obviously.

Nobody else has noticed yet. At first glance we don’t look the same. It’s more the expression in our eyes, the angle we hold our heads, the depths of the sighs that whoosh through the adjoining walls. Yesterday she sighed so hard that I swear my curtains moved. Nobody else saw it, but I felt the warm gust as it passed me; felt the missed opportunities and frustrations, smelled the wasted years and the realisation that she had more years behind than in front of her.

We each try not to catch the other’s eye, in case we implode. She recognises the danger. I wonder if the conversations behind her floral curtains replicate those behind my stripy ones, whether her hand also tightens around the paring knife as she chops the vegetables, listening to him clearing his throat, watching him put things ‘away’ in the wrong places. Sometimes I catch an echo of her thoughts bouncing around my kitchen “What happened?” “What else is there?” “Who
am I?”

Neither of us is still ME, of course. Those MEs got subsumed years ago, in the minutiae of everyday life, swallowed by the laundry, beaten by the housework, defeated by the mundane. Our MEs have become automatic, efficient, capable. The crazy MEs have shrunk, hiding in corners, snatching brief moments to expand, escape, run wild, before the sensible fights back, tames and subdues them into the realms of the ordinary.

Should we ever speak, worlds will collide.

Comments

  1. Loved reading 'Just the Two of Us'. It's a shame the crazy MEs have shrunk... next time? Part 2?

    ReplyDelete

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