The Kiss.

He woke beneath a kitchen table. Scattered crumbs rose like far-off prairie mountains on the tiles. Through a slice of window he could see a deep crusted snow, shining on a rooftop. The sky held more snow. He was wearing someone else’s jumper. Heavy, handwoven, Hebridian: blue with a daisy motif. He stared at the yellow woollen stamen, the woven white petals were intricately knitted, each lapping the next. He balled himself and he held himself. He imagined the blue jumper to be a lake; the stamen to be the sun; the petals becoming clouds. He pretended and he dozed again.

Someone came in the kitchen from a door that had been open all the time though he had not paid it so much attention, and a pair of bare legs came past the table. Feet stockinged in thick, loose socks. He watched the back of those legs at the worktop. A hem of cotton, blue. A kettle whistled. The legs returned and the front of those legs were at the table.

You want coffee?


Unless there’s someone else down there.

She hummed a tune. It was not one he knew and he listened to its summery air. The coffee smelled like turned earth. He breathed the legs from beneath the table and gazed their length, wondered their shine, their shadow. At one point, and for no apparent reason, a socked foot began to blindly pet the side of his face. He nuzzled it. And, daring all, unstoppable, he slid a hand to its hem and removed it. He balled the sock and held it in a fist and started to kiss, very gently, the pale foot, quite thoroughly, from toe to toe to sole to ankle.


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