Thera

This is a work of fiction.

It happens around that time of the year when morning mist clears to make way for crisp yellow light and the leaves began to ripen.

We are in London for the weekend. Things are tense. I pretend not to understand his jokes and catch him looking at me with a mixture of irritation and pity when he thinks I don’t notice.

It’s the third anniversary of our wedding.

That morning I am sitting outside a cafe, shivering lightly in the cool September air as I sip a cappuccino and smoke a cigarette. He is still in the hotel room half a block away. He hates me smoking. I am wearing a shift dress which he said he hates, opaque tights, brown ankle boots and a black wool coat that he bought for me on our first anniversary. The first and last thing he ever bought me for an anniversary.

Our eyes meet when she presses the traffic light button, panting slightly. She is in head-to-toe black Lycra, with terry wristbands and a red beanie. Her face is flushed, her dark hair pulled back into a neat ponytail. She is big – tall, solid but not fat, with a runner’s lean physique. She has a dog on a lead, a big German Shepherd who seems to be enjoying the run as much as she is. I learned early on that runners don’t like to be called joggers. Joggers are amateurs. No one wants to be an amateur.

She crosses the road, maintaining eye contact, and stops at my table. ‘His name is Lord,’ she says with a nod at the dog.

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