Thursday 30 August 2012


                                                                      Jessica Cooke

Black coffee, no sugar

She stood before me daily, smiling and laughing as she twirled round and round allowing me to inspect every inch of her body without any self doubt or fear of my callousness. Perfection. It radiated from her. Her long hair blacker than the stroke of midnight, her once snow white skin tinted brown where the sun had luckily kissed her. Emerald eyes sparkled as she looked at me lovingly, devotedly. I was completely besotted with her. This was my routine day in, day out.  

       Until one day she didn’t show. I waited, all the while desperately hoping she would appear and grace me with her beauty once more. The sun set on me long before I gave up hope.  I waited for hours, days, until eventually a week went by, and my longing had tripled, when she finally stepped into my life once more ...but there was something different about her; the glow had dissipated. She stood before me and I stared in anguish.

       Her once vibrant green eyes, now embedded within dark circles, no longer sparkled but were heavy with sadness and her skin, tightly stretched across her bones, was almost translucent. All that had made her once so captivating seemed to have drained from her. I could see all the youthful energy had been taken, leaving her hollow. Her fragile fingers trembled as she unbuttoned her blouse and let it drop to the ground; she turned to reveal her once beautifully smooth back now ridden with purple clusters of large, angry boils. With each movement her hard skin cracked allowing thick, dark blood to ooze from the wound.

       As each day passed, she stood before me and showed me the progression of her illness. I watched, forever silent, as the sores took over the right side of her body, spreading across her stomach, over her chest and down her leg. Although her eyes brimmed with dread she managed to hold back her tears until, at long last, it crawled up her neck, resting on her cheek. I watched her as she decayed, forever helpless to her plight.  

       Eventually she deteriorated so terribly that I couldn’t bear to look any longer and fortunately it was then when she disappeared forever. The last I saw of her was a rogue hand that slipped from the gurney, a goodbye, as she was rolled out of my life forever. I didn’t expect her parents to come to me, I didn’t know what to do, I just stood and looked at them as they cradled one another and asked me over and over; ‘Why?’

       In the end her parents left and I was alone. Alone with the swirling thoughts of my lost love, of her beauty and grace, how it always radiated from her... but every so often the raw memory of her blistering body crept into my mind and all I could do was hope I would forget her. After a while everything grew grey with dust and resentment. I see no longer and instead I wait, for what feels like an eternity, for someone else to give my life meaning again.

Jessica Cooke is an aspiring writer based in Salford. She has longed to be an author since childhood and loves to read and write short and flash fiction most of all. She was also the winner of the the Flash-Lit Fiction 2011 online competition.


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