The world had never existed until now

Do you remember the first time?


The house I grew up in – the house I’m in now; it’s got a great garden that dad has tended over the years. There used to be two silver birches standing tall in the garden, now chopped down to make room. One of them only recently; white branches lean against a mossy wall.

You know how you never know what you’ve got till it’s gone? Oriental poppies, huge luscious petals, scarlet. An apple tree, now gone; a maple that remains. The maple’s always had this weird illness, the leaves are always blotchy and a little crisp. At least, I think it’s an illness; maybe it’s just the way it’s meant to be.


I used to be enchanted by the foxgloves, when I was young. Young-young, not just younger. Enchanted by the name, fox gloves. Enchanted by the flowers, I’d sometimes pick them and place them on each finger, pretend that they gave me magic powers, make me a wizard. Dad used to see me, sometimes.

‘Don’t go near them.

They’re poisonous

They force the heartbeat. Too much will kill you.

Do you remember the first time?

There was this summer we had. I was 15; I remember because that winter I’d had my first proper breakdown, episode – whatever it is you want to call it. I remember, because it was a leap year.

There was this summer we had when I was 15. I would sit in the garden, drawing as the light faded and night drew in. I’d sit and sketch and listen to the birdsong and the leaves of the birch trees and watch the stars begin to blink into the sky.

Usually, once it got too dark to see properly I’d return indoors. But this one twilight, I didn’t. I just put my sketchbook down and sat, and watched the light fade, the night fall, the stars shine. The world turned satin, then velvet.

There was this twilight I had…

I’ve said before and I say it because it’s true; it’s not the ecstasy of an orgasm, it’s the pleasure of a kiss. A kiss full, and deep, and long. It was the first time I’d ever been grabbed so forcefully, so passionately, all desire and lust. The leaves rustling, as if I’d never heard sound before, as if the world had never existed until now and all was new in the dark and starlight. Flowers, for the first time, bloomed; violet and white.

Night fell and I fell into the night, all silk and velvet and scent, violet and white. It was the first time I fell in love. I think I wept, watching the foxgloves.

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