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by Mary Thompson

Let’s say it’s one of those rarer than rare days when the sun beams white out of a buttery sky. Let’s say it’s your first time with him and afterwards you drive over to the beach where you sunbathe and burn, then drag yourselves through the dunes to his white Cortina where he plays Message in a Bottle in his cassette player while you rest your feet on the dashboard and swig beer from a crate in the back. Let’s say you spot a ladybird with two perfectly round dots inching its way slowly up the window and watch as he traces a line down the window onto your toes and up your thighs. Let’s say you laugh as the ladybird follows the line down the window, onto the dashboard and inside your dress and you close your eyes as you feel the tickle of its minuscule legs. Let’s say he kisses you and as he does so, you imagine how wonderful it would be to have that tiny, immaculate creature imprinted all over you.

And let’s say you end up later in the Union Bar where it’s dark, beery and rammed and you order a snakebite and black and drift past your friends, unaware.

“Oi,” they shout. “Where’ve you been all day?”

“I honestly don’t know,” you say, and the boy by your side squeezes your hand and it feels so warm, so safe that you know this is exactly how it should feel. And let’s say you order more of the purple stuff and drink it outside with him by the fountain in the park and the white sun streams through and the drinks glow crimson like a beautiful wound.

Mary Thompson lives in London, where she works as a freelance teacher. Her work has recently featured in journals and competitions including Flash 500, Fish Short Memoir, Ink in Thirds, Retreat West, Reflex Fiction, Flashflood, Ellipsis ZineThe Cabinet of Heed, Memoir Mixtapes, Atticus Review, Spelk, Firewords, Fictive Dream, Funicular Magazine, Ghost Parachute, Vamp Cat Magazine, LISP and Cafe Irreal, and is forthcoming at Literary Orphans and Riggwelter. She is a first reader for Craft literary journal.