The curtain gasps open after a gust of aestival breeze, setting the wind-chimes alight. You’re sitting on the sofa opposite me, with a nail-polish cap fenced in by your teeth, and the curve of your wrist caught under the pillows; naked eyes. There are magazines strewn about the ramshackle table, the crests and troughs of girlhood in gloss, stained heliotrope by your polish smudging on the paper with each idle turn of your page.
You smile up, absent, and it looks painful, as though you’ve got poniards in that gap where the upper lip and those crooked front teeth meet. The room is not pretty, and neither are we, two bored girls and the wafting varnish, but there's something angular in the way the walls seem to knock together when they meet the ceiling. It puts me on edge. The halogen lamps whir complacently above, but it’s not particularly a comfort. I wonder why I stopped being friends with you, but then the light claws at the side of your face, and I remember.
We knew people, together, and I suppose that was enough to claim friendship, a foundation that had looked back and shattered gently into salt. It was odd. It was like you were sat in one half of the confessional, swathed in tyrian and pomander and the Holy Father, and I in the other, neither of us saying, neither of us listening. I would just sit there, and attempt to ignore your wine-dark breath as you razed every sky I’d ever seen.
I’d heard, in a ripped apart game of Chinese whispers, that you’d once called me too soft. That I could be opened delicately and sucked out. I glance at you, and you’ve looked away, staring up at the posters and dust jackets on my bedroom wall. I fail to force a trichobezoar of confession out of my aching mouth, as knotty and tangly as we both are. You smile again, and I'm melting.
I look out at the summer sky and try to make myself dangerous.
**My entry for the TSR Short Story Competition**
Where to live in your first year of uni