This week I’ve swapped my usual Thursday and Friday posts. If you’re looking for the Friday Fictioneers, check out yesterday’s short story. If you’re looking for InMon, you’re in the right place. Feedback and critique feed the muse, and she’s hungry.
No-one calls me Elizabeth. My parents must have said it once or twice when I was born, but all my life they called me Kit, in reference to a joke even I don’t remember. I grew up Beth at school, then stamped my authority and became Liz when I left home, as though that would make me a different person, and separate me from the agonies of teenagehood. It’ll be on my gravestone, I suppose, “Elizabeth Belinda West – beloved…” What? Friend, I suppose, I’ve no family left to mourn me.
When he says it, Elizabeth, my mind doesn’t recognise it as me. His face is close to mine, a tender look in his eyes, as if he might kiss me. Again. His mouth was on mine moments ago; I can still feel the moistness on my lips where his closed over them. I have dreamed of this moment for so long and yet I can’t remember it now.
He says it again, more urgently this time, “Elizabeth”, but he makes no move to approach again. I have opened my eyes, but perhaps he wants me to speak.
I move my tongue, my lips, as though for the first time in an eternity. I am mouthing the words, but it takes a moment to make them sound.
“Liz,” I say, eventually.
“Liz, are you OK?”
“You kissed me.” It’s the only thing I can think of. Pathetic, I know. A grown woman with a crush is bad enough. A grown woman with a crush on the guy at the bus stop. A guy she’s never spoken to. And now, that’s all I can think of to say.
“Someone had to.” His reply confuses me and I begin to look around. I am lying on my back, but this is not the soft bed of my fantasies. I’m in the street. There’s a car bumper a few feet away, and a small crowd standing above us. “Don’t try to talk, the ambulance is on its way.”
The thought comes into my head again: a guy I’ve never spoken to. “How did you know my name?”
“It’s on your work pass.” He smiles again. “Chris Marlowe, my friends call me Kit.”