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Sunday, August 18, 2013

A Scent of Shampoo


Her head was – for a short while – pressed against my chest. By lowering my head, I could bury my nose in her hair. It smelt of some sort of flowers, some brand of shampoo, I suppose. For just a moment, though, I could imagine us lying together in some meadow somewhere on a day in the long summer school holiday.

Together, as I'd always thought the two of us should be.

Then, a moment or two later, she sniffed and snuffled and eased herself away from me. My arms, that had just been holding her, as I'd always wanted to hold her, fell to my sides. She turned away from me without looking up at me, wiping her eyes and nose with a tissue.

I felt I should say something, but I've never known what to say, or what to do, in such situations. It had even been Claire herself who had stumbled into my embrace as I stood there, powerless and embarrassed by her tears.

I thought, helplessly, of the moment at that party when if only I'd leant forward and given Claire that kiss she was – I now realised – waiting for, then she would not be here now crying over some other boy. Instead we'd be together, perhaps in that summer meadow, because I knew I would never make her cry.

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