After you leave, I sit and stare out of my rain-dotted window, that used to be our window. I stare out at the red-brick buildings. I watch the raindrops drip from the telephone wires like the tears of jilted lovers.
I stare into the windows of the apartments opposite, at the contemporary kitchenware and wine racks. Things I thought we might own one day. Grown-up stuff. Earthenware dishes. A juicer.
The couple opposite, the ones we used to make fun of together, sit at a granite-topped breakfast bar, eating something grainy. Muesli. She still wears workout gear; Lycra pink leggings tighter than a snake’s skin, and a black hoodie. No inch of her arse hangs over the sides of the black and chrome stool she perches on, like a delicate bird ready for flight. She brings her loaded silver spoon to pink lips.
As I sit on the floor eating leftover pizza, I try to imagine transmuting myself into her skin and wonder whether you would have stayed if I’d worn skin-tight Lycra and eaten muesli from a spoon.
If my arse had fitted neatly onto a stool.
The man gets up now. He’s wearing a brown wool suit and ironic tie. He puts on his jacket. It’s one of those suits that make him look slightly creative – definitely not a banker’s suit – and I remember how we used to make up jobs and names for them.
He leans across and kisses her on the forehead. She smiles up at him showing perfect white teeth. Her blonde ponytail bobs lightly. (How does it stay so perfect when she’s been exercising?)
He picks up a soft, brown leather briefcase from the floor and leaves the room. She sits on, reading the newspaper and sipping her orange juice. I watch her wait there for a few minutes, until she’s sure he’s gone. Then, she pulls a pink mobile from her pocket and taps a message into it.
I watch for a few more minutes, biting my nails, a habit you hate, until I see her jump from the stool. She’s running out of the door, which I know leads to the hallway where the outside door is. I know this because it’s the same set-out as my apartment – the one that used to be ours.
I can’t see her now. But still I know what she’s doing.
I know that she’s kissing you and tasting that unique taste you have, of mint and a hint of garlic, even when you haven’t eaten it.
I know that you’ll be tasting muesli on her tongue.
And I know that you’ll be wrapping your thick arms around her slim waist, as I let my tears splash onto the glass, mirroring the raindrops on the other side.
Kate Jones is a freelance writer based in the UK. A regular writer for Skirt Collective, she also writes features and reviews for The State of the Arts. She has also published flash fiction and poetry in various literary magazines, including Sick Lit Magazine, Gold Dust, and 101words. She has been long-listed for Flash 500, and won the weekly AdHoc Fiction contest, as well as being nominated for a Pushcart Prize by Kelly Coody of Sick Lit Magazine for 2017.
Find her on Twitter: @katejonespp
She also blogs at: writerinresidenceblog.wordpress.com
3 Replies to “Muesli – by KATE JONES”
You did a wonderful job of encapsulating a situation so many of us have been through. It’s that familiarity of heartbreak that really makes this such a fantastic retelling of every relationship gone south, ever.
P.S. “(How does it stay so perfect when she’s been exercising?)” As a certified personal trainer, I can assure you, professionally, that it’s witchcraft.
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Thanks so much for both your comments! Glad you enjoyed reading : )