He was perfect. Lounging across the front seat of a dilapidated car, looking every inch the boy that borrowed his father’s saloon for the prom and hoping that his best girl didn’t mind the smell of wet dog or the bubbled paint that flaked from the bodywork like a bad sunburn.
One hand on the steering wheel, the other dangling from the driver’s side window, fingers drumming gently on the door as he laughed and chattered with my neighbour. I could have watched him for a lifetime, with his troubled hair and faded T-shirt, he was everything I wanted and nothing but unreachable.
Too young, too cute and too absorbed in my pretty, animated neighbour – with her caramel eyes and streaming curls – water spilling over pebbles that bobbed and rippled in the early autumn sunlight.
I felt awkward in my work clothes and tried to pass them by, hoping that their conversation would engage them long enough for me to escape into my house unnoticed but, as soon as my hated high heels trip-trapped across the loose gravel on the street they both looked up. She with her dazzling smile and he with such a look of total vulnerability that inside I faltered and fell.
The polite introductions felt thick in my mouth, my lips dried and dragged on my teeth and I felt my smile harden like stale icing. My cheeks flushed as I fell over simple words and I dug my fingernails into my palms – I fired an excuse about having an evening meeting and ricocheted off the street.
Slam. Safe. Breathless.
Edited by: Kate Garrett
Available from Amazon
© Mel Lampro