From a window I watched her swagger back towards our house from the avenue’s communal bottle bank. Not a ‘Jack-the-lad’ kind of gait, but a ‘content-with-the-world’ amble. Hands in trouser pockets, shoulders low and light, lengthened neck on a head held high.
The first time she came over to mine. I watched her through a window then too. She was in a kerfuffle. Not quite sure of where I lived, a little bit lost maybe, anxious certainly and her body told the story. Her black shirt tucked into jeans a little un-tucked in places. Body, picture frame square and sharp elbowed. Trying to manage the scruffy dog on a lead and a bottle in hand whilst working out which was my flat. I went to the door. Made it easy for her. She beamed when she saw me. I beamed right back.
She laughed when she saw the pocket I had made for the TV remote controls stitched to the sofa, made out of a pair of M & S knickers. The dog made itself at home. We cracked open the bottle. We carried right on laughing.
Over time the awkward edges of not knowing are replaced by the soft roundedness of intimate knowledge. She still teases me about the pant-pocket. Neither of us can tuck our shirt in these days, but that’s OK.
I watch her swagger and I feel a rush of love for her.
Lel Meleyal, Brighton.