The Diary (extract)

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Monday 15 April

I buy a diary every year, but this is the first time I’ve used one for ages. They’ve piled up at the side of my bed, making it harder and harder to get up. Recently, I’ve had something to write about for the first time in a long time.

 

Tuesday 16 April

I was stuck in a lift with Maisie for hours today. She grimaced when I ran down the corridor to catch the lift door. She wore all black and the tips of her hair were darker than the roots. Her knee length skirt covered most of the spider’s web tattoo that ran up her leg. Her mobile was black too, with a pair of dark blue wings on its case. When I went inside, she pressed the button for the sixth floor- the canteen. Quite presumptuous, I thought, although she had guessed right.

          She concentrated on her mobile as the lift rose. That was one of the ways that she differed from the image I had conceived when first seeing her six months ago, when she had glanced at her nails, shoes, and over her shoulder when being shown around the office. I had imagined that she would be above such commonplace things. I thought about saying something each time the lift jolted into a new floor, but always decided against it. When the lights flickered between floors four and five, there was a rattling groan from behind the panel. It whistled and gurgled as if about to throw up before the lift shook violently, throwing us off our feet. Maisie scrambled to one side and slapped the alarm button, then squeezed into a corner with her knees drawn into her chest, breathing heavily.

          We’d sat on opposite sides for around ten minutes before I finally said “shit”. She glanced up at me with her kohl rimmed eyes.

          “Yeah, shit,” she replied, before glancing at the floor between us. She always seemed to have somewhere else to look. My mobile didn’t work; the amount of bars fluctuated rapidly between empty and full, but whenever I tried to ring anyone, it immediately emptied. Eventually, I plucked up the courage to ask: “have you got any signal?”

          She looked up. “What? No.” She flashed the screen at me and added, “just playing games.” I nodded, making her head dart up to note the gesture, before she gradually became engrossed again.

          It was awkward sitting there like that, our feet almost touching. Soon, the temperature dropped, and I imagined my legs going blue. It became harder and harder to wriggle my toes. The feeling spread and my teeth started chattering. I thought that I was going to freeze unless we hugged. “Do you like reading?” I asked her. She nodded slowly. “But only really cool books.” She held my eyes with a steady gaze. It was moments like that that reminded me of my first impression of her.

by Mark Reece                                   Copyright © 2019. All Rights Reserved.