I laughed and laughed through a mouthful of beads,
teeth crunching plaster
tongue folding plastic
to powdery wisps of lettered strings.
Inside his eyes stood a tiny fist
swinging and knocking in reach —
“The night isn’t always shouting and crowded.”
Our brains rolled swollen
in slowing rivers of pebbled thought.
We looked on as thought chased word
and ums formed a pattern
of wincing jars, lining the pavement
I stood there waiting, awkward and upright
So in the end he returned my disappointing smile
and I walked back through splintered glass
scattering moonlight across grey.
He turned at the noise —
rolling towards the smile of the headlights
She stepped on his foot at the crucial moment
while trying to force his favourite smile.
He did the same to be funny, but glanced
in way that displaced the goodbye.
Their gazes played on the grey of the kerb
as a passerby hummed ‘Let it Be’.
Her eyes watched his as he looked for the rain
to blur what he’d started to see.
For a few minutes after, she rooted her feet
watching the rain on her laces. The roots
spread, so she snipped off the ends
and planted the pain in her pocket.
Over the road the girl in blue
was soaked with vicarious feeling.
The dangling frays of her bottomless
jeans dissolved as she lit up from seeing.
She lowered her gaze, recovered her face;
pretended third-wheeling was fine.
While observing the boy meander his
way, her bus for home left on time.
Katie Meynell is the editor of The ISIS for Michaelmas Term 2018.