Saturday 26 June 2021

'You and I' by Noémi Scheiring-Oláh

You would love this, I know.

The buzz of the lorries vibrates the thin window above the sofa bed. Noise to me, lullaby to you.

Headlights seep through the slats of the shutter, drawing yellow lines on the opposite white wall. It would remind you there’s a world out there moving, breathing, making noises. Making you feel safe.

It makes me furious. Being stuck in a cheap, rented damn studio flat.

I need to get up.

The neighbour’s TV is arguing, shattering and shooting. You’d love to hold a glass against the wall and press your ear to it, listening in, picturing the movie in your head. But I stomp my feet instead.

As I walk past the dining table — correction: the desk, used sometimes for eating porridge and ready-made curry, I adjust the ballpoint pen so it’s perpendicular to the desk’s edge and parallel to my sketchbook. No. Your sketchbook. You made me buy that one all those years ago, holding a red, giraffe-shaped balloon. But it’s still blank, see? It only takes up space.

A yellow smiley face clinging onto the small white fridge says “Every day is a good day.”

And the warmth of your instant joy mirrors that smile, lighting up the room like the lamp of the fridge I just opened.

Coldness exhales onto my bare shins. I bend for my water bottle and nudge the fridge’s door closed with a foot. Light thins out, jars of strawberry jam tinkle.

The smiley fridge magnet reappears in the greyness.

But I shake your smile off my face, scoffing, regaining control. C’mon. I’m an adult now. How can you still make me fall for that silly thing?

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