LEARNING TO SWIM
Lil: Feli. Hey, Feli.
I was standing underneath your window earlier today. This is going to be embarrassing, but you know how I am: if something comes into my head, I have to say it. So here goes. I was standing underneath your window. I wanted to say hello. To the door. Not to you. I know that’s not allowed. I looked up and thought I saw you sitting on your windowsill, looking down at me, your feet dangling. I thought I saw you wave and that scared me, that’s dangerous, on a fourth-floor windowsill, so I hurried away, afraid you’d fall down and it would all be my fault—and then I hurried back again and went and stood very close to the door so you couldn’t see me from where you were.
I wanted to say hello.
You lovely door.
I must have looked bonkers, standing there on your doorstep. Almost got knocked down by a postman. He probably thought I was a complete nutcase—just barged right past me and up the stairs with a registered letter. My first impulse was to follow him, then I thought: No way. I’d only be standing outside another door—the door to your flat. And then all I’d need would be for your husband to come out.
I try to picture your flat. It must be warm. Down here on the street I’m freezing, although it’s summer—I mean, it is summer now, isn’t it—and I think of how warm and sunny your flat must be and how warm your skin and how I’m not allowed to kiss you any more, never again, why not, just on the cheek like a friend, what would it matter.
I wish I could leave my teeth with you. You could bring them along next time we meet—then they wouldn’t annoy me with their chattering when you’re not here.
I know I’m running away—and not for the first time—but frankly, I have the feeling that you’re running away from me too. That’s the way I’ve always seen you: as a speck, moving away from me. Can’t you stay?
Feli: Where have you been?
Pip: Here, of course, where do you think?
Feli: Don’t fuck me about. I can smell it.
Pip: Smell what?
Feli: Ladies’ perfume.
Pip: Tell me, are you jealous?
Feli: What? No!
Pip: Have you been lying in bed all day, feeling jealous?
Feli: You can do whatever you want.
Pip: I want to fuck you.
Feli: Haven’t you had enough for today?
Pip: I want to fuck you.
Feli: Don’t touch me, I want to sleep.
Pip: Since when have you been jealous? Have I done something wrong?
Feli: I’ve been waiting for you. I’ve been lying here for hours, waiting for you.
Pip: I didn’t know that.
Feli: We’d agreed a time.
Pip: I think we ought to have kids.
Feli: Fuck you.
Pip: Seriously, I’ll never find another woman who’s so good at hating me.
Feli: Go fuck one of your sluts and give the kids nice names.
Pip: I want you to go away with me.
Feli: Maybe I just need a break from you.
Pip: Then go away by yourself. You need some exercise. You can’t lie around in bed all day, doing nothing. It isn’t good for you.
Feli: Why isn’t it good for me? I feel great.
Pip: Go away by yourself and when you come back I’ll be sitting here, waiting for you. You need some exercise.
Feli: I don’t want exercise. I don’t want you sitting around here waiting for me.
Pip: What do you want? Do you have any idea what you want?
Feli: Lying in bed waiting for you is okay.
Pip: You never told me you missed me.
Feli: Maybe because I don’t.
Pip: You make me laugh with your bird’s-eye view.
Pip: I’m going to have a shower. Then we’ll make babies.
Feli: Or I’ll hang myself.
Pip: Or me. It’s up to you. Let’s do something together.
Tr. Imogen Taylor