Unexpectedly her forehead touches the window as the train lurches sideways. A single bead of sweat remains on the glass, true to the sticky heat and apprehension.
The train must be moving at walking pace, so slow to gather speed. She wills it to gather speed. A child's face at the window of a house, a run-down play park, young mothers with cigarettes, newsagents, hedgerows, dogs, sun. Finally blurred together, the landscape is safe to watch. Unsettled without knowing why, she scratches the skin of her thighs with her fingernails. Wonders if opening a window will help in the slightest.
She tastes fresh, clean. Like the dewy air at dawn, or water melting from an ice-cube. At the crook of her neck and between her breasts her skin is warm and smooth, and sweet-smelling.
fluoresce: to emit visible light

florescere: to begin to bloom
The grief was sudden and terrible to live with. Her love being unrequited, it was kept a secret. She sobbed in daylit corners and under dark duvets, often dry-eyed.
Conversely, it was the fierce shock that stayed with her. Shock that she'd loved him so hopelessly for so long or that he would never apologise for what he'd done, she couldn't yet tell.

She was waiting for anger, because she knew it to be cleansing.
Get a girlfriend

Blonde, thin, delicate somehow. Met early on, at a gig where we reminisced. And though she was charming and her hair was soft I knew she was only being polite.
I stared discreetly for weeks until we were thrown together. Loud, dirty jokes and barked laughter. I wanted her with an immediacy that I dream of.
Propositioned, almost. Comparing outfits, the joy of halloween. She's a pirate wench, laughs at my jokes and orders rum. She's a mess and I know it, but as usual I can't keep away.
Not pretty, but statuesque. More intimidating than I've been known to pursue. When I got closer I realised it's only herself she's scared of.
She knows about my bruises, my vices and downfalls, my ever-changing faults. We are similar, and damaged in different ways. We drink together now.
Eight weeks.

I cycled around Berlin but not Amsterdam. I got food poisoning on opposite ends of the continent (lesson 1: don't eat salad abroad.) I had my towel and sunglasses stolen. I kissed a Polish girl (lesson 2: when in doubt, ask a native) and she tasted of my Marlboros. I saw the Berlin Love Parade and an orchestra, or two. I climbed a mountain (a cliff) and splashed my feet in the Danube. I didn't get sunburn (lesson 3: factor 30). My hair has grown, my nails have been bitten. I have none of the books I left home with, and the same pair of jeans.

Nothing was broken, no-one was hurt.


"I kiss her tenderly on the forehead. Gently I unlock her arms. The others are going to take her again. I can't bear seeing that. I must go. I must run. For a full minute, however, I stand and look at her. Her eyes seem to have grown enormous. Two great round eyes, full and black as the night, staring at me uncomprehendingly. No maniac can look that way. No idiot can look that way. Only an angel or a saint."
Henry Miller, Black Spring

"The sea smelled like a sail whose billows had caught up water, salt and a cold sun. It had a simple smell, the sea, but at the same time it smelled immense and unique... Nothing pleased him more than the image of himself high up in the crow's nest of the foremost mast of a ship, gliding on through the endless smell of the sea - which really was no smell, but a breath, an exhalation of a breath, the end of all smells - dissolving with pleasure in that breath."
Patrick Suskind, Perfume

"She pulled her by the hands and her feet crashed to the floor. Pam stood up, the shock of her feet transmitted to her blank eyes, and pushing her upstairs in front of her, Sidonie rested her fist in the small of the back she had not touched for so long. She slammed the kitchen door and pulled her into her arms and kissed her hard on the mouth, pressing her against herself until she heard her shoulders crack. Then the woman she had been going to kill, for whom her hand groped towards the knife-and-fork drawer, began to kiss her back, and this time tears fell from her eyes and poured down her face in a stream of incoherence and lipstick... She tried to kid herself she would love her forever."
Shena Mackay, Music Upstairs
He paused after he'd taken a bite, and wiped crumbs from around his mouth. Then with unbreakable concentration, he licked his fingertip and gathered each individual crumb left on the plate. Still inspecting his mouth for residue with his tongue, he took the straw between his fingers and steered it towards his mouth. Before he closed his lips around it he blinked slowly, and spoke to her.
"What are you writing?"
She watched silently as he took three short sips as though to determine the content of the cup, and then one long. She imagined the cold, sweet shake sliding over her tongue and it made her think twice about ordering coffee.