by Flo Ward
I went to the registry office on Tuesday. Perhaps I thought I was going to get married. I don’t remember now, that’s how it is, you should know that. It comes and goes.
I didn’t get married, turns out. Jake did, to someone else. She was a nice girl. She gave me a seat, a folding chair set up against the wall, and said I could watch if I liked and Jake gave her a look. He might have thought I wouldn’t understand, but looks aren’t as hard as other things. I understood that look.
Perhaps I wasn’t supposed to be there. Perhaps I wasn’t even invited. You know how it is, it comes and goes. I don’t remember.
Jake gives me a lot of looks nowadays, when I see him, which is now and then. Not that often, but sometimes several times in a year. Looks of disbelief with his forehead scrunched up and his lips tightly together when I tell him about what I’ve been doing: about the elephants and such. Sometimes I get it wrong and then it’s a pained look, straining and waiting and wincing whilst I fumble with my words, my hands, attempting. The worst looks are the pity looks, which are the only times he smiles — limp, small smiles and downward cast eyes and perhaps a hand on my forearm. A gentle push. Lie down, Agatha. There you go. Lie down.
Once I told him to call me Aggie, and the look he gave me was a new one. I said: like the old days. I haven’t forgotten. I forget some things, you know how it is, but I haven’t forgotten Aggie and Jake. I’m having trouble deciphering what it meant, those eyes, all glassy and averted. Perhaps he doesn’t remember Aggie and Jake, though I suspect he probably does. It’s why he can’t look when I’m being changed because I’ve soiled my sheets again. It’s why he doesn’t come as often now. You know how it is — busy life now, baby on the way and a promotion at work. I don’t really know how it is, obviously, but it’s nice to pretend.
Once, when we were Aggie and Jake, he told me he loved me.
You know how it is, my mother used to say, boys grow out of girls. They get bored quickly, Agatha, be careful.
Jake didn’t get bored, I don’t think. I’d like to tell her that. Sometimes I miss her, but it comes and goes.
Jake didn’t really change at all, when I think about it. I was the one that changed. They say it was inevitable and my injuries were severe; it couldn’t be helped. You know how it is. They do their best.
Anyway. I went to the registry office on Tuesday. There was a man getting married and something about it was incredibly familiar. I can’t help forgetting, that’s how it is. I said I was sorry, but he just looked so familiar — could I please have his name?
There was a look in his eyes then. I think perhaps he was sad.
Flo Ward is a writer from London. She has been featured in a range of online and print publications, and was a Wicked Young Writers finalist in 2014. She founded the online magazine Inky for aspiring writers in 2012, and its zine component in January 2015.
This was story was really moving, and I really admired its understated emotional content. Congratulations Flo – very impressive!