An unfamiliar ringing shatters the dark, warming senselessness of sleep. My body jerks up, robotically. I am sat, cold, comfortless, next to an unknown man, bare torso revealed by the twisted floral duvet. I want his steady breaths to mean something. I want to be able to take them in, remember how I fell in love with him. But I don’t. I can’t. Who is he? There’s a thick shroud of grey obscuring all connections.
When he wakes, I’m half-dressed, marvelling at the wondrous wardrobe, unseen, though I’ve had it for... How many years? I notice he has the most beautiful green eyes I have ever seen; I blush like a school-girl, averting my eyes to the floor. Yet there’s nothing, other than the instant attraction. We all appreciate that this is merely a result of conspiratory hormones anyway. He smiles, introducing himself as ‘John.’ “Remember?” he says, overwhelming doubt tainted with such earnest hope. Ruefully, I shake my head.
At eight, ‘John’ leans in, plants a quick kiss on my cheek. I find myself shamefully flinching away, and see a noticeable droop as he leaves. For work?
The house is nice. Well, certainly, it has aesthetic qualities. There are vast sofas, leather, I think, and I try them each in turn. Soft. God I feel drowsy. Better get up before I lose my head.
I meander through the rooms, shaking my head in approval, or tutting at the collections of dust upon unpolished window panes. Then I see it. A Piano. Why do I know the name? I feel sure I’ve never seen one before. I can only describe it as... enticing. The subtle beauty rolls off in waves, rippling away from the beams of light streaking its top. I sit. Place my fingers upon the keys. Inhale and – my fingers are arranging themselves, creating innumerable shapes, contortions, delicately churning out nameless melodies, echoing a faint stirring in the depths of my dissolving hemispheres.
I play for hours before padding to another room, my bare feet leaving prints upon the floor. I am greeted by sweet knowledgeable unknown books. So many books. An intoxicating feeling of timelessness envelopes me, sending a shiver jolting up my spine. I run my fingertips along the smooth bindings of each, scanning the titles. They all look so weathered, so worn. As though they’ve been read and re-read and read again. I swear I’ve never heard of any of them.
John arrives late, clutching cardboard cartons, alluring spices oozing out between the gaps. He sets them upon the table, disappears, then re-emerges with clattering plates.
“I picked your favourite,” John says, before his face suddenly crumples. “Sorry. I didn’t think.”
“I’ve never had... Chinese?” I reply, furrowing my brow. I smile at him. He must be confused.
An unfamiliar ringing wrenches me out of sleep. I look around. A man sleeps on, dark tousled hair falling over his defined features.
I’ve never seen him before.