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It started small.
At first I didn’t mind losing the noises from outside. No more screaming neighbours. No more overly-vocal mating pigeons, no more footballs bouncing hard against the fence.
And you said you would complain about them for both of us.
But then the conversations started losing words.
So you said you would sing me to sleep while you still could.
And then the sound of the wind went, the cracking of the trees in autumn, the gentle breeze sweeping through the grass.
All the sounds you never realise are there.
And then there were none.
And every room was filled with emptiness. People lost animation. Without the sound, movements and actions all looked ridiculously exaggerated. As if the bodies of my family had been taken over by robots. I couldn’t decide if I wanted to laugh or cry.
And I wished I could take back all the times I’d asked for quiet.
All the times I had walked away from our arguments.
I wished to hear screaming and mating pigeons and pounding footballs. And to be able to stand in a thunderstorm and hear the hard driving rain as it hit the pavement in sheets of noise. As the sky crackled and the world boomed and the wind whooshed and whistled and rattled and echoed through the driveway.
But most of all I missed our laughter.
Then I forgot your voice.
And you said you something.
But I couldn’t hear it.
So I curled up to you at night. The warmth of your flesh, the smell of citrus in your hair and the remains of that heavy perfume I bought you every Christmas. Shalimar. Rich flavours of scent, musk, vanilla, sandalwood and roses. A smell that warms you like fire. And underneath it the earthy smell of you, that metallic hint of sweat. And briefly you became alive again.
Then slowly lips became words for me. Your lips became comfort. They took time forming the letters. My eyes grew used to dipping to your Cupid’s bow. I bought you lipstick. Red. Slowly I learnt the rhyme of speech and the change in movement when people sang. But you never sang. And your lips formed hard lines between words.
You chewed the red from your lips.
I would sit and watch you in rooms on your own.
There was a silence all of your own.
Then it became our silence.
I kissed you goodbye.
You told me you loved me.
But we have become imitations of our selves. All mechanical movements.
I watch a film of our lives.
We are routine.
You are sympathy and I am need.
When did it happen?
I crawl up to you in bed and hold your warm, scared skin and breathe in the mix of rose and wood, of sweetness and musk, a smell that pulls from my lungs to my groin. But underneath the perfume I search for the hot, damp, forestry smell of you.
And I wonder when did we fall out of love?
Amber Lee Dodd
Amber Lee Dodd is a writer and playwright whose work has been performed around the country and published internationally. Recently she was a writer in residence for The Expansionists and a playwright for the young playwrights programme at Chichester Festival Theatre, where her short play was chosen for performance. Her writing has been selected and shortlisted for national competitions and published in both print and online with The View From Here, Litro Magazine, Cleaver Magazine,.Cent, Liar's League and many others. As a commissioned writer she recently worked on 'You, Me and Everyone' the largest crowd sourced story project in the UK.