Whitey — Chapter 1

She marched past my table, and like a dream of paralysis, I couldn’t even raise a squeak to turn her head. I later realised I hadn’t wanted to disturb the image of the girl spearheading a new group of friends, people I didn’t know, marching confidently into some unknowable future that didn’t involve me.

Perhaps I hadn’t wanted her to know I was back in town. I had been vague about my whereabouts with her, hiding my anguish at losing her, behind a smokescreen of appearing far more busy than I actually was. Being German, she would have despised my weakness and I had wanted Sara to be totally uncertain as to whether I was really making a success of my affairs or whether I was sinking into pathetic indolence, again. I hoped that she didn’t know anything, and at the same time, the idea that she actually didn’t care what I was doing stung just as badly. I couldn’t have changed her mind, and I didn’t want to slow her down any more than my presence in her life already had.

As she swept past, I smelled the perfume I had bought her late one birthday afternoon as the shop was closing and that I subsequently hated, even though she really liked it and a snatch of a sunny day flickered into my mind’s eye, us in bed, her reading a book with her head in my lap.

The image remained, like a sunspot, as I watched her confidently lead her new friends away down the street.