I should visit the town just down the road and make friends with the man who runs the butcher’s shop. Everyone loves an impossible relationship and I cannot stand the smell of meat. We could stare at each other through the glass and I could feel slightly nauseous through the glass but that’s the price you pay sometimes.
There once was a girl who loved her home so very much she thought she could stay there forever. She would order food, listen to Elvis Costello all evening and have a whale of a time… Turn into a whale too; get fat off peshwari naans and spring rolls. Chips and Chinese and pizza and Indian food, her favourite, lots of options for a girl with certain dietary requirements. She liked the vegetable korma.
She had once eaten meat, before she realised what it was and sometimes it would come back to her, sometimes she knew it was still in her stomach, in her throat and she choked on it, on how she would prefer to chew away at her own flesh and did, nibbling at the skin around her fingernails, swallowing tiny morsels and afterwards being so much more of herself than she was before.
Sometimes, she had to leave her lovely home and it made her miserable. The girl would drink, twice a week maybe; get completely wasted because she thought it might turn out fun and not just messy. She was chasing a chance really, because occasionally it was fun and you can’t be the one who wasn’t there. Once she had gotten to talking with a homeless man – he was more of a boy, her age perhaps. She bought him a chai latte and he called her a twat. She asked him what the worst part of it was and he said he never had fun anymore; no one wants to fuck a tramp. She thought about it, about taking him home and washing him and trying her best, she really did, but in the end she went home alone, watched the sign zone, ate some cereal in the dark.
The Girl would walk into town early, she worried she was wasting her days and spent hardly any time at all indoors, in her perfect home and her nicer than average feet never saw the light of day, trapped in terrible shoes. She liked a routine; to visit friends on a round, to kneel on dirty shop carpets, to buy everything she needed gradually, visiting as many local businesses as possible. She liked to play her part. The girl had always crossed the road to avoid the butcher’s shop but the stench still got to her, like the smell was solid, the meat itself and it rotted so quickly in her hot nose. Perhaps that was why they never noticed each other before; because later it became clear that she must have been living in the same town as the butcher’s boy her whole life. That winter morning though, as she walked towards the high street thinking of nothing but how cold her nose was, he was a fresh face fifteen metres away.
He wasn’t perfect and that was perfect; she made hurried notes of everything that wasn’t quite right – his face was red and dry, like he had been running in the wind, his hairline was receding and that could even be a horrible scab on his neck - she’d need to get closer to be sure. They were on the same level, every one of his glaring flaws made hers disappear; she was no longer slightly pig nosed and broad shouldered, those things fell away. They collected them, imperfections, and put them to one side and saw the best bits. He loved the way she looked, she could tell; she liked his eyes and he liked her hair. They would look wonderful together, a real picture, a proper couple, she knew, his arm across her shoulders would be only the beginning.
He seemed like the sort of boy who could handle her, she could tell that just looking at him. If she cried, and she liked to cry, he wouldn’t be awkward or antsy, he would understand, he might even like it – she was sure he would. It was beautiful, the way the tears fell from her chin and pooled on her collar bone and he would appreciate that.
The smell, his smell, the mark of his profession hit as these thoughts were running through her head under her lovely hair and as they were beginning to smile at each other. It would have been a good smile, if it had made it all the way up her face then it would have been a starting pistol of a smile but she ran. She turned and fled and threw up on a volvo just round the corner.