She sat shaking, with her head on my shoulder, the warm wet patch growing with each tear. For three years she had put up with varying cruelty. Thoughts ran through her head an endless stream. She loved him and she hated him and he’d manipulated her and he had insulted her and he’d cheated on her, and he was always late and she always paid for everything and she thought they would marry. And their blissful holidays together, and they’d gazed into each others eyes, and he’d moved in with her and she didn’t know whether she could trust anything he had ever told her and he’d made her feel so amazing. And he’d made her cry and now it had to end.

The screech of the buzzer echoed round the flat as we realised someone would have to answer it. But moments later there was a knock on the door. He must have charmed someone from downstairs. I wasn’t looking forward to the scene I knew must follow.

Wiping the salt trails from her eyes, taking a deep breath she glanced through the peephole and answered the door. She threw herself into his orange arms, her golden hair mixing with his dark as he rested his head on hers. I sat there awkwardly, wondering idly if he used St. Tropez. Over her shoulder he winked at me, “Alright.” I allowed him a tight-lipped smile, holding back many things I wanted to say. I tried to understand what she saw. She couldn’t possibly give him another chance could she?

Her body trembled as he rocked her gently backwards and forwards, a bored expression on his face. “‘S ok darling I’m here now.” Now. Three hours late, as soon as possible. She slowly pulled back and stared into his eyes assessingly. She remembered him calling her ugly, him throwing her across the room, him breaking her arm, when she found he had cheated on her and him softly kissing her goodnight. His gaze met hers, the emptiness telling her how little he cared. “Thanks.” Before she would have forgiven him, held him close and kissed him, now she wanted to forget how she felt and push him away.

They went into her room that night and he was gone by the morning. He had told her he loved her, he needed her, things would get better. At breakfast there were no tears but no smiles. Sadly I felt it would only be a matter of time until again she sat shaking, with her head on my shoulder.

Love's Clichés

They say they will "never leave" us, the people we love. They say "our love will last forever". They say "we have something special". "You mean the world to me." They say "no-one has ever felt like this before". And despite the clichés, despite having heard it before, we believe them - who's the fool here?

Clinging to the Memory

The stars on my ceiling start to fade, or maybe my eyes are closing. They’ve been there as long as I can remember and I keep meaning to take them down but something always stops me. Maybe it’s the fear of growing up. Maybe I just like them. They remind me of you and I'm not ready to let that memory go. If I leave them there, maybe you will come back to take them down.