Where new writing finds its voice

The Early Throes

Tim Wells

You realise, the fifth time she uses it, it’s the pet name she’s given you.

You are walking along Oxford Street, she takes your hand and you have to hold the book you’re carrying in front of your groin to mask the rising tightness in your stride. The book is Apuleius’s The Golden Ass and you march it from Topshop to American Apparel. The title and your gait makes a Swedish tourist laugh.

You name the colour on her lips, dress size and shoe. You walk past clothes shops and picture her in outfits that catch your eye. This new-found attention to women’s fashions worries you.

You start to eat differently: wasabi peas, rocket and become aware of soya milk.

You wake up in the morning singing ‘Can I Get a Witness’.

You think less about the swish of her thighs or the give of her breast, but more of the splash of her laugh and how her smile breaks like a sunrise from behind the black of her hair and the dark of your day.