Friday 5 October 2018

Accentuate the Stubble

by Hannah Retallick

eggs and coffee

Out of the bathroom you walk, cheeks full of it.
Steven, why?
You shrug at me with a confused expression, wearing the twisted red towel as a scarf. What?
What do you mean what? Your face.
Huh? You put your hand along your jaw, stroking your chin to a tip.
Your face, I say again. You haven’t shaved.
You shrug, rolling your shoulders, which means I’m right. It curves round your jaw, stretches up to those rank sideburns, nearly reaching up your nose. Black dots, some long enough to have been there far more than a day. Is your eyesight worsening? Those glasses would fix it, or the contact lenses. You don’t care, you just don’t care.
You forgot, I murmur.
Story of my life.
The towel lowers, and you flick your head, hurling droplets; the bedroom mirror needs a windscreen wipe.
Do you have to do that?
You know what. And go back and shave. Today of all days.
You tousle your wet stringy hair, which hasn’t seen a barber in far too long. My birthday was it? Or the last anniversary?
When you getting up?
When I’ve had breakfast, Steven.
You remember then. Hand to jaw again, covering it up, hiding.
Oh! you say through your palm. I’m so sorry. Muesli?
            Eggs and coffee.

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