Snowcase #12 • 15 August 2007 • The SnowBlog

Snowcase #12

Rebecca Connell is 27 and has already gone through three careers as an agent's assistant, a TV producer and a brand consultant. She is more consistent when it comes to writing, she says! She has submitted THE ART OF LOSING to the Snowcase. Undercover, Louise grows close to the man with whom her late mother had an affair twenty years earlier - and the secrets she discovers have the potential to rewrite her past. THE ART OF LOSING Louise, 2007 There is so much to say, and what I could say would never be enough. I see you now for what you are: selfish, complacent, cold, poisonous, evil. I only regret that it has taken me this long to end what should never have begun. The first time I saw you, I knew that I would always love you. But sometimes over time the things we know unravel into nothing more than the things we thought we knew. This time I was wrong. These words are always with me. They run through my head as I talk, an almost-heard undercurrent bubbling just beneath consciousness. Sitting on the train, soaking in other peoples' heat and sweat, I tap them on an imaginary keyboard, my fingers digging privately into my palm. Close to my heart, I keep them folded up tightly in their fading letter paper everywhere I go. The name at the top of this letter is not mine. The name at the bottom belongs to a man whose face I can barely remember. Both these things will soon change. **** I exercise it rarely, this talent I have. Scurrying down darkening streets, shivering as rain moulds to my shoulders, my muscles relax into a familiar rhythm. I'm a dancer remembering a long-forgotten dance, a gymnast whose body instinctively recalls twists and turns set aside many years ago. At school, I used to play this same game, skulking behind an admired teacher from classroom to car park, always a few steps behind. As he unlocked his car and drove away I would be watching from the damp cluster of trees, my breath still shallow from the excitement of the pursuit. I have this talent for following. He never noticed me. The man I am following now is just as oblivious. He thinks he is alone, but ever since he left the lecture hall, I've been with him. Down the high street, I slide in and out of the crowds like mercury, his heavy burgundy coat glinting wetly ahead like a jewel. I want to be wrapped up in his coat, engulfed in its warmth. It would swamp me; he must be six foot two, a clear eight inches above me. It would smell of what? Cigarettes: I saw him light up as he left the hall, cupping his hand to shield the tiny flame. Lost in thought, I'm getting too close. I hang back as his pace slows, counting my steps in my head. Abruptly he stops, as if hearing his name called. I shrink back into a doorway and watch as he puts a hand to the back of his neck. He's forgotten something perhaps, a book, an umbrella, a scarf. No. He's simply forgotten himself - passed his destination. He hurries back and ducks into a brightly coloured cafe, swinging the door shut. I wait a few moments, then sidle up to the cafe, leaning back against its wet orange wall. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Rebecca Connell rebeccaconnell [at] gmail [dot] com


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