Jamie's life is looking up, he's moved out of school and is currently working in an art shop, dreaming of drawing his own manga. Problem is, he has no ideas, other than those drawn from his own life... and you couldn't make those up.
There’s a smell I remember, something sharp on the edge of a razor, something dull on the binding on an old King James Bible. Floral, but at the same time masculine. Exotic, but at the same time, familiar. You.
I don’t remember you, of course. Afterwards, I made a point to tear up all the photographs. That was enough. With my face recognition being so poor, you were effectively reduced to a blur, a carrot-topped blur with cold dark smudges about where your eyes would be. Your number was deleted from my speed dial, your presents hidden in a shoebox under my bed, artefacts from a barely relevant past hidden in a museum to mistakes. Your shirt you left here that night you slept over...let’s say no sooner had you told me it wasn’t working out than it was in the washing machine, your scent being boiled out of them with an excessive spin cycle. No, you’re no longer a part of my life. You no longer know me, or anything about me. I no longer know you, care less.
Sometimes though, sometimes, I catch sight of someone in the street who’s about the same height as you, with the same build. Or someone who dyes their hair the exact shade of copper you did. Someone who sits on the train with a battered notebook and a chewed up pen, scribbling away like you did your clever poems.
Every time, my heart catches in my chest, my breath choking in my throat. I stop, and I tell myself it isn’t you. The person turns round to be the barista at the coffee shop, or stands up to reveal they’re taller even than me, or once, looked up from their notebook to reveal themself as a girl with a lip-ring and a serious attitude problem. Then, turning away, I remind myself, you don’t matter. I’m doing well without you. My GCSEs are over, two years of my life reduced to a collection of meaningless consonants. School’s over, and I have a job in that little art shop where I used to practically live. Everything’s hunky-dory.
So I tell myself, and usually, it works.
Yesterday though, it was different. It wasn’t your build or your hair or your habit of writing satirical poems about other people on public transport. No, it was that scent, the razor, the book, the flowers… suddenly, primitively, I was taken back to those days, and your smell followed me all day, clinging like enamel paint to my fingers, like rumour, like shame.