By Nick Cantwell © 2007
Six thirteen. AM.
Disoriented at first, then a realization. Lisa. No Liz. Yeah that's it - Liz.
She's naked. Sound asleep.
I'm wide awake. I always wake up immediately when I've been drinking the night before. I let my eyes become accustomed to the semi-darkness and scan the room.
There are my clothes and there is the door. That's all I need to know.
I pull on my jeans, shirt and jacket. Check the pockets – phone, keys and wallet - all present and correct. The wallet still has money in it. Good – I haven't spent it all, and none has been taken – you can't take any chances.
I go into the hallway, and close the door gently behind me.
The hallway is familiar. We didn't get as far as the bedroom for quite a while.
Fortunately she hadn't locked the front door from the inside – other things on her mind.
As the fresh air hits me – I realise my head is pounding. It's the crack of dawn, I don't have any idea of where I am and I need a piss. I find an alleyway and relieve myself.
I find a main road, and there's a shop. I buy a bottle of water, some aspirin and a packet of cigarettes. Twenty, not my usual ten. I ask the guy directions to the nearest tube station. It's a twenty minute walk - which I'm glad of. Clear my head a bit.
The underground station is relatively quiet. Only losers like myself are up this early on a Saturday morning. The tube arrives quickly, and I place myself in the corner, my head resting against the glass. For the first four or five stops, I have the carriage to myself, but as we get closer to town, a succession of cleaners, shift-workers, down-and-outs and drunks inhabit my space – or was I inhabiting their space?
Daylight greets me for the first time as I step through the ticket gate – and for the first time this morning I feel cold. I reach the flat and head straight for the shower. The steamed mirror denies me the opportunity of looking at my face, looking into my eyes – which I am eternally glad of.
I sit on the end of my bed, and my eyes immediately become drawn to her picture.
It's always her face I see.
No matter what their names are – it's always her face I see.
Always her face.
But it never is her. Not her hair. Not her smile. Not her mouth. Not her body.
Nick Cantwell is a writer from London, England.