never look back

Early that morning was the most terrible sensation: that of having actually shat myself, lumpy slime slithering up my butt-crack in public, squashed between my trousers and skin, right there in the street, in front of my ex who I had not actually seen for the better part of ten years, despite occasional appearances in dreams.  These appearances had reduced in the last two or so years, but still happened now and then.  Maybe she caused it.  I was nervous and confused.  Suddenly I was fairly confident this was all a dream and I would wake up soon.  But would I wake up having just shat myself?!  I did and I hadn’t.  Double check.  No, nothing.  Phew. I drew my girlfriend into my arms.

Later that day at lunchtime I took an aimless wander into town.  As I hit the main shopping high street, people buzzing everywhere, I glanced down at the shape of a female sitting on a bench, tapping at her smartphone.  It was her.  Shit.  I stumbled confusedly past and then stopped still and paused and wondered.  An older man approached her after visiting a cashpoint and she got to her feet.  Presumably they were colleagues.  They made off down a street.  I went to a cashpoint, keeping them in view, feeling strange.  Her bum looked good.  She looked good.  I withdrew some cash, then I found myself following them, not really knowing what I was doing, knowing I was walking faster than them and would soon enough catch up with them.  Would I just breeze past, or stop and talk, or nonchalantly wave as I passed?  I was gaining on them.  There was a pedestrian crossing.  They had stopped on the left-hand side of the crossing, and stood waiting.  I had approached on the right-hand side of the crossing and now also stood waiting, feeling strange, one person between us.  I looked right into the road, and left down the road, but not directly at her or them.  I imagined they probably saw me.  Probably. Did she see, or register, or recognise? There was a gap in traffic and I walked into it and over the road and carried on and didn’t look back and still felt strange.