Danica Green

Posted on May 14, 2012

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Fifteen Feet

I sit on the garden wall with a beer and shoot the odd glance towards the kitchen window. Maria’s there, drinking some fancy cocktail and flicking the hair out of her eyes with a delicate finger every so often, as is her habit. When not attending to her hair that rogue hand flutters about in a complicated sign language of gestures to her girlfriends, some secret code that only women seem to understand, hand to her breast, to her forehead, swishing from side to side and occasionally flicking the hair out of her face again. Maybe it’s part of the code. I do some quick calculations and realise I’m maybe thirty feet away from the kitchen door. Slipping off the wall, beer still in hand, I slide silently across the garden, just a little closer, behind a rose bush.

Maria comes out of the door. I hurriedly shuffle back a few feet to the apple tree, pressed up against the bark, and listen for approaching feet. The click of a lighter, a gratified exhale. I breathe. My ear catches her soft breath. She mutters tipsily about inane subjects, the words less important to me than the sweet ups and downs of her speech. I hear a reply. A deep, tenor of a reply. I hiss, risking a look around the trunk and see her there with some slick, gel-haired mama’s boy, all tight t-shirts and expensive sneakers. I clench my jaw until it hurts before realising that my grip on the tree is pushing splinters under my fingernails. An involuntary yelp. I don’t need to be looking to know that they heard. Footsteps. Twenty feet, nineteen, eighteen…Whispers. I shuffle back and back into the foliage and, just as they’re coming on my hiding place I turn and dash for the wall, heaving myself over and running towards my car in the parking lot across the road. I see mama’s boy peer over the wall for a second before shaking his head and disappearing. I wait a second to shake off the exertion of the run but inevitably tiptoe my way back towards the wall, afraid that Maria might go inside and I won’t get another chance to be with her tonight. I try to control my breathing, back pressed up against the bricks and occasionally shuffle further up or down the length of the wall depending on where the voices are coming from. As long as I’m close enough to hear her voice no one can say we’re not together. As long as I stay more than fifteen feet away I’m not doing anything wrong. It doesn’t restrain me too much.

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Danica Green is a UK-based writer of words, sentences and paragraphs. Sometimes they even coalesce into coherence, but only on a good day.

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