“Well if you love him there’s not much I can do, is there?”
He was twenty five. More or less. And the woman he was speaking to was on the other end of the phone.
“True. It just occurred to me that way in the moment. It was such an improbable thing to say. Like it couldn’t make sense outside of a soap. And if it was in a TV script it would sound too trashy to be believable.”
“But people must say it, one way or another, all the time right?”
“I guess so. Have you ever said it?”
“Ever thought it?”
“A couple of times.”
“With different people?”
“No, same person.”
A man treads lightly down a street in Soho.
The Pillars of Hercules is there. So it must be Greek Street.
It feels like a Sunday.
And he’s holding his hand up to his face. The end of his nose is missing. Blood on his fingers.
When he staggers it’s to avoid the woman passing next to him. Who doesn’t look at him. She doesn’t see embarrassment on the parts of his face not shielded by his hand.
What remains of his nose is protected from scrutiny. What remains of its tip is two streets away, up three creaking flights, behind a door whose keyhole is hard to find because the landing light broke seven weeks ago.
It’s in a sink. Blood along its rim.
And if he shouted at the top of his lungs, someone standing at the sink might hear.
No one who uses that toilet has ever seen their reflection in the tap.
The broken bulb will still be there in a month.
Suddenly he’s gone.