We met second year first term. Two snakebites shouted hot in my ear. Your sharp white elbow a triangle on the dark wood. Chalky pool cue sticking up out the crease in your arm. I poured the weird pints, put them in front of you. Dried my hands on front pocket of my hoodie. Cheers, you said. Shook your purse out onto bar. Coins coins coins. 2p rolled off lost in brown carpet. So, like, this is all I got. I’m one fifty off. That cool? Looked over at my supervisor, asleep in armchair by the slot machine. Yeah. I nodded. Cool.
You hung around pool table with some guy in denim jacket. Eight, maybe nine with haircut. He’d come over every half hour or so to order more drinks. You alright babe? Same again, yeah. Speak up love can’t hear you. Give us a packet of those as well. Listen you have a good night. See you round yeah. Then turn off back to you, glass in each hand, packet of salt vinegar crisps between teeth.
Get up to leave late with your shoulders under his long arm, eyes swaying, ankles crossing over themselves. You call over, Thanks night. I nod. Wait hold on. Your voice sweet slur. You. I look up. Yeah. You do. We do. Anthropology. Shake my head. Oh shit. Thought you were. Someone else. Standing still looking at me harder. You’re cute though. My hands hot suddenly. Isn’t she? Denim ponytail cocks head, turns lips down at corners. Strange approval. You wanna hang? I shrug once twice. I’m in the market for a girl mate. Partner in crime. Here what’s your number? Put it in this. Gives me brick phone sticky buttons. I’ll ring you yeah we can get pissed. And I whole time don’t say one word. Just nod smile punch in number.
After this see lots of you. Dress me up in leather trousers. You’re so fit that being near makes me feel same. Go out with no money driver’s license in our bras. You use sex and teach me to. But my boyfriend, I say. You laugh. Don’t be boring. We take turns suck cock for coke. I have money, I offer. Can just buy some. You think that’s no fun. We spend my student loan instead on amaretto, glace cherries, fishnets, cigarettes, until it’s all gone borrow rent from Lynn my rich aunt.
By February I’ve lost job boyfriend failed three modules. Parents call weekly sound concerned. Still for first time probably ever am having fun. Very thin in last night’s mascara grubby sheets. We sit talking saying everything. Who we did what ways. I fucked one with dogging fetish thorn scratches up my wrists. You fucked one with fake septum piercing rich pretending not to be. I fucked one sweet one who asked me on date to pizza place I slept through. You fucked your mum’s ex-boyfriend Steve up here for work barely recognised you all grown up. We fucked the same one he told you you were better. Hard soft quick all same to me once done. Just doing it because you doing it something to do.
Outside pubs we blow smoke in each other’s mouths sometimes kiss. Lick nibble press bodies together feel your nipples through your top. You know men sucked in by it. They stop stand watch us live porn. You invite them to join if they’re nines tens I end up just kissing your neck until bored wander off another drink leave you there his big tongue in your mouth.
March time you got kicked off your course for low attendance bad grades. We get whiskey drunk in park sit under a tree in the rain. You cry first time I’d seen it and say, D’you think I’m addicted to sex? I didn’t even know you could be hadn’t thought about it just say, No, no, course not. I buy you little soft rabbit from pet shop thirteen pounds to cheer you up. You keep it in your bedroom leaves droppings on your pillow.
When your student loan stops coming with maxed out overdraft you move in sleep on my sofa. Rabbit eats through all wires you bring back so many different boys men. My housemates passive aggressive rude. You always look so good not bothered hunched over baked beans drinking Foster’s.
One day find you red wet faced on phone. Your mum sick. Some kind of tumour thing cancer somewhere you can’t say from crying. Went in for check up feeling fine they just found it there. I pay your train to Norwich we visit her. Big cold hospital. Glass plastic stainless steel. She small in bed wearing lipstick. Bring her fat pink roses she hates. Says, Take them away that smell that powdery dead smell. Why didn’t you come sooner you all dressed up like a baby whore? Who is this ugly friend? She is obviously definitely dying and mean with it.
Back in Manchester over next few months you fuck anything fours fives even don’t care. Won’t tell me about them when I ask just say, Yeah he was fine nice cock I guess. But I see them stumbling around with you at night. Some so old must be fifties sixties proper slime. Hate seeing their big thick hands on your arse waist tits. You say older richer better; they’ll give you pills, booze, whatever you ask.
I spend eight hours waiting in sexual health clinic reading first book I have for months and months. Diagnosed with chlamydia given grim antibiotics by doctor who says, Don’t drink with these. I do anyway but less and less. Doesn’t feel fun anymore getting fucked. Go down get checked out, I say. You feeding rabbit lettuce on your lap. I tell you the wait is arse ache but they’re really nice. Told me about loads of scary shit illness infertility. You stop drop rabbit on floor from sad height then walk off out onto street disappear for two three nights.
Day you come back same day your mum dead. No crying nothing I just open front door and you’re there in same clothes you left in saying very clear, That’s it she’s gone. So I sit you down on sofa make some coffee put rum in. Say, just take it easy for next few days. Try and. Focus. On yourself. You stand up lean in kiss me. Hard wet I can’t breathe. Your breath warm sour. Then stop stare right in the straight eyes. I am shy with you now first time in ages. I kiss back slow kiss properly. Both know I want to. You take off all our clothes. Use your fingers make me come once twice. I try to do same for you but can’t I don’t know how with girls. After we lie down naked on carpet. Sleep with your head so light on my left arm your hair a happy tickle.
When I wake up morning light slotting through blinds. All your stuff packed up gone from around me. You too. Just rabbit left biting my fingertips.