We meet again, Jess C & I, in an empty multi storey car park in Birmingham. The air smells of petrol. Our footsteps echo through the concrete spaces, as do our voices. We are surprised to find each other here. The city is a vague, dark shape in the distance.
“Last week I didn’t even like you,” she says. “But this week I see things differently. I was confused.”
“I am relieved.”
“I am prepared.”
We both laugh at this.
We slow dance ourselves into the shadows and only come out, dishevelled, when we are too late to discover where the train station is. And anyway, we can’t remember where we were supposed to be going and neither of us have been to a multi storey car park in Birmingham before.
I am asleep in a cave. I can hear Jayne L speaking on a phone. She is telling someone that she is gay. This is something of a surprise to discover – but only for some seconds, and now the past all makes so much sense!
She says, “I went there for comfort.”
I cannot move. I am paralysed (as if in a night terror).
Jayne L says “you know when you listen to a playlist about breaking up? That is when you exchange padlocks. It’s a tradition.”
This makes me laugh and, as I wake up, I hear myself saying, “that proves that you are gay!”
I haven’t seen Olivia A for, oh, about a decade. She speaks in a comedy French voice. “I’m in love with _________,” she tells me. I raise my palms to the sky, shrugging my shoulders. “So don’t get any funny ideas about you and me getting together!” I am leaning against a wall, laughing uncontrollably, unable to speak! I have never once thought of Olivia A and myself as potential lovers.. .or, indeed anything but two people who have maintained a healthy and solid disdain and dislike for each other!