Untited work

by Lewis

The walls rattled in the wind and rain, rocking on their wheeled base. Rust stained water dribbled down the window, like an old toothless mouth chewing an orange. The caravan looked and smelled like 15 years in a dark damp forest.

He sat staring out, trying to figure out why he was still there and if he could leave yet. And if he did, then what? He supposed it had been love. Whatever that was. Something inside him that had taken over and stripped sense and reason from him. Or maybe that was just an excuse. He rolled the bottom of his beer across the table in small circles before almost knocking it off clumsily. He sighed and finished the bottle, picking his crochet up and trying again. The hook caught and he cursed silently. Another stupid idea; he just couldn’t get the hang of it. Tom would have been great at this he thought. He was one of those people who was instantly good at everything he turned his hand to. The thought darkened his gloom and he tossed the mess of wool into the corner.

The air was thick with the heavinessc of a summer storm. He picked up a book from a shelf at random and immediately discarded it. The stifling air added to his mood, frustrated, he wanted to get out and walk, but the rain was as torrential as his thoughts.

He wondered for the 1000th time what Tom was doing, if he was thinking about him at all. It had been crazy to do it. The heat. The music. The buzz. It had all been too much. He remembered how his hand had felt numb when they touched. How his lips were rough and tasted of cheap lager. How long ago was that? Funny how one short moment can so completely divide time; before and after. Nothing was the same after. Can I ever go back to before? He thought. Fuck this. Fuck love. Fuck tom.

He lay down on the bed replaying the day after. He’d woken up, packed a bag and driven straight here, firing off a quick email about a family emergency to work. They used to come out here drinking, hunting in the forest. Enjoying nature. The rain had died down briefly a pause in the storm. He grabbed a beer and headed outside. The air was warm and the soft rain was refreshing against his bare chest. He stood silent. Watching nothing. A faint rustle in the undergrowth and his heart froze. He didn’t dare to hope, but there it was anyway. A small perhaps. Maybe. The undergrowth moved again and from the shadows a large canine shape padded into the moonlight. An old fox, faded fur but still beautiful. It looked at him slowly, deep green eyes passing judgment. Then seeing nothing of note it looked away and padded across the grass into the distant undergrowth. Nothing to worry you here he thought. Nothing but a sad fool, waiting. Waiting. Trapped between before and after. Unwilling to go forward. Unable to go back.