The Leaves Are Turning Brown – Chapter 11

We both woke up within 5 minutes of each other, around noon on Saturday.  My eyes opened and focussed on her face, still precisely where it was when I finally closed mine 5 hours ago.  Her eyes were already open and she mouthed “Hello” without making a sound.  I leaned in, my eyes closing, and felt her lips come to meet mine on the pillow.  We embraced and I held her tight, taking in the smell of her hair and her pillow simultaneously.  I wanted to stay here forever, but we loosened our grip on each other and she looked into my eyes again. Each time I look into those eyes I am lost.

As she rolls away and out of the bed I notice the sound of the traffic outside.  I get up and walk to the window. We’re on the 2nd floor and I can see the road below and a blue sky above. I flatten the duvet and lie back against the pillows, taking my first daylight look around the room.  I see her posters for Belle and Sebastian, her clothes, in several indistinct piles across the foot of the bed, and over on her desk a laptop and photographs on a mirror.  She comes back in, both of us are still wearing the same clothes from last night, and she has two cups of tea in her hand.  I take one, taking a sip and sighing. Milk and two sugars, nice and strong, proper tea.  She comes round and lays next to me, both of us looking out of her windows like we’re watching TV on a really bizarre channel.  I’m enjoying my tea, and enjoying the company.  I’d normally feel a bit awkward in a girls room like this, but she’s got her elbow resting against my hip, and it make me feel very cosy and warm.

She turns to me and goes to say something, but pauses.  Then she asks me if I want to have lunch with her.  I need to wash and brush my teeth, but I also don’t want to stop being with her.  I tell her and she offers me a shower here, but says she can’t help with the teeth.  I say it’s cool, but I’d prefer to get changed and washed at home, but could meet her later if she’s free.  She’s got plans tonight and my mind reels, wondering who else she’s seeing and whether they too will end up here tomorrow morning.  I push the thought down and start to get my shoes on.  She shows me downstairs to the door, and as we say goodbye she leans in and we kiss.  She’s standing on the doorstep, making her a bit taller than me, and she’s kissing down onto my lips, which suddenly becomes my new favourite kissing position. She pulls back up so she’s standing in the doorway, looking beautiful in the light. I tell her I’ll text her later and go to leave, but she starts to speak.

“What happened last night, when you ran to the door?” the words come out nervously and softly.  I felt she wanted to ask since we woke up.  I know the feeling of asking a question at the last possible moment, because I know if I don’t ask now I can never ask that question. I don’t know what to say to her, so just lie and tell her I thought I saw someone I knew outside.  I don’t believe the words and I can see she doesn’t either, but we’re not yet close enough for her to question me about it without it becoming awkward. I say goodbye and she blushes as I step backwards and down the street.

As I walk towards the station I see a car over the road near the junction with the shop.  There is someone inside, but the engine is off.  I slow my walk so I take in as much of the street as possible in my peripheral vision. I recognise the car from last night’s glimmer.  My heart rate shoots up and I feel the anxiety building as I walk down the street.  I am almost even with the car, over on the opposite side of the road, so I can’t look without drawing attention to myself.  Do they know who I am? Are they here for me or Jules, or both?

I walk on and cross the road, going into the shop, buying a can of drink and a choccy bar.  As I come out I instinctively look at the car, turn the other way and carry on walking.  There is definitely someone in the car, but they seemed to be staring up and off, to nothing. I look back to the side as I cross back over the road, but the car and the person in it are too indistinct to make out any memorable features.

I carry on towards the station, picking up the pace back to my normal speed. I realise on the train that I haven’t seen a glimmer since last night, but all week they’ve been so regular.  I wonder what the glimmer means, what it is I’m seeing. Why now and why me.

As  I walk into my room at home I see a glimmer immediately.  I see myself sitting at my computer, frantically typing and searching.  I can’t quite make it all out, but there is a feeling of panic and loss.  I feel this me, trying to find out what happened last night when Jules was taken. The glimmer fades, but I am sure I can get closer to  them than ever before. This last glimmer before I chill out felt so real that I almost entered the moment to experience it first hand.

In the shower I begin to regret leaving.  I ask myself why I left her, when it was so comfortable.  I wonder if there was something pulling me away, over the fear I was feeling, and the anxiety.

As soon as I get back to my room I text Jules. I know I can’t tell her about the glimmer and the car, but I say to have fun tonight and text me any time.  I write how much fun I had with her last night, and even go so far to tell her I regret leaving now.  I send the message and try to relax, but the room feels oppressive, like I’m not alone. I see small flickers of light around the room, just a brief shimmer here and there.  I think this is a glimmer, but it doesn’t feel as close as before.  This feels more distant and I can definitely feel the anxiety emanating from it all around me.

I sit on the edge of my bed and try to focus in on the flicker, on the feelings that aren’t mine.  As I focus in on it the glimmer begins to appear all around me.  I am sitting at my laptop, searching social networks for Jules. I don’t know her surname because we only met twice.

No, that’s wrong. I do know her surname.  This morning I saw it on her mail while she was getting the tea.  I type the name into my laptop and her profiles begin to appear.  The glimmer starts to fade and I look down to my empty lap.  My laptop is over on my desk, with the lid closed.  All the light stops in the room and it is still again.  I lie back and close my eyes.  In a moment I am calm again, the waves of panic dissipating into nothing.  I open my window a small amount and the white noise of the city flows in.  I put some music on and relax. In a few minutes I’ll be asleep.  I need to rest before I think again about the past two weeks.

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