The Invisible Hand

I bought them in Specsavers a few years ago. Went to a lecture later that day. The writing on the board was easier to read. Political philosophy, the invisible hand that guides our nations through history. This is what it was all about. A sense of intellectual clarity and progression. A lot of books being read, exams being done, hard on the eyes, time to look the part. After, we went for coffee, and she said I looked really preppy. We bought cappuccinos and wondered how to pass the afternoon. Maybe her house, maybe mine. She was wearing blue jeans and a purple plastic raincoat. There was people all around us talking, like a choir, a chorus, background music. They were going doing postgrads, going travelling, getting jobs, getting drunk, getting married. Everyone had a plan, options, ideas. There was a smell like toasted cheese sandwiches and wet shoes and cardboard. She crossed her legs and asked if I was going to the religion lecture later. We always sat beside each other there. Tethered, talking telepathically, listening to the world getting broke down into molecules of social science. After, we’d walk somewhere in the calm, soft rain. The showers were always polite and rarely interrupted us. If it got too bad we’d stand under a tree and she’d put a book over her head and we’d stand there watching the light crystals fall like years of our memories to come. At night, we fitted together like two calm continents in drifted peace. There was always a moon through the window making shapes, like a lamp on a dark road designed to show us the way – to let us know we were on the right path. If it was her place it smelled like makeup and foundation and her scented perfume everywhere. On every chair and piece of clothing. You could open a door and get the fragrance on your hand after. The house itself was addicted, drank her up, thrived on her elegance. All those moments now like centuries of experience, passionate lifetimes in short intimate nights, the infinite unknown wealth of lovers.

         I found them again today. Both lens still intact, the arms a bit loose but otherwise the same. The lectures are over now. The postgrads come and gone. The travel all done. The drink all drank. The raindrops on the window are more pronounced but everything else is less clear. Sure these days we don’t talk at all. Nothing to say, too much unsaid. Time poured over the past like concrete we can’t break. We met once or twice by accident. Compared our kids ages and talked about the towns where we live now. Unlikely places with unlikely people. A wave of the invisible hand over all that was missed between us. A mixed urgency to stay or to run away. To keep things together or to blow them all apart. To sit down and drink coffee and wonder maybe her house, maybe mine.

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