Friday, 24 September 2010


By Simon

This is not a beginning.

I don’t know what this is.

Or when really.

I do know where.

A day at the office, my first day maybe, everything is fresh, everything is clearer.

The lift doors ping open. The woman smiles at me, steps in and turns round to face the doors as they glide closed. She presses 11.

She wears a pencil skirt and pinstripe jacket. Glasses.

She gets off and my gaze follows her. A man gets on, the doors close.

One level up. The doors open, the man gets off. I go too but wrong floor.


I work on 12.

1 level up, the doors open. I get off. Finish the induction, attend a few meetings, greet the rest of the team, sit at my desk, numbers, numbers, numbers. 6 o’clock and its time for home.

Take the stairs

I pass the woman.

She doesn’t look at me.

Memories. Here. Somewhere. Of a time before.

Another day at the office.

The doors ping open.

The woman smiles at me. Open lipped this time. I can see her perfect teeth.

She presses 11. We make conversation. She smiles a lot. She smiles an awful lot. We’ve met before. When? A meeting maybe or a social.


She gets off. She waves. The man gets on. The doors close.

I look down at my nails. I have been biting them. I see the man’s feet. We have the same shoes.

1 floor up. The man gets off. I go to. Wrong floor. 11.

1 floor up. 12. The doors open, I get off, I go to my desk, numbers, numbers, numbers.

6 o’clock. Time for home.

I take the stairs.

I pass the woman.

She will not look at me.

Memories. Before running out. Bleeding into the now.

A day at the office.

The doors ping open. The woman, there in front of me. She gets on. She will not look at me.

My guts tighten.

I still love her, I always have. How?


She gets off, he gets on.

I look at my hands. The man smells like a brewery.


The man gets off. I go to. Wrong floor

My thumbs are bleeding. I have chewed the flesh around my finger nails raw.

12. I get off, desk, numbers. 6 o’clock, home time.

Take the stairs.


A gap, a hole, a chasm, a pit.

Any day at the office.

Earlier. Earlier, I think.

The doors ping open.

The woman. She smiles. She smells of coco butter.

She presses 11. She smiles.

She wears a pencil skirt and a pinstripe jacket.

She has a birthmark on the small of her back.

Her hand intertwines with mine.


She says goodbye.

I wave. The man gets on smelling of fear and hate.

1 level up.

The man gets off.

This is weird.

12. off. Desk, numbers, 6 o’clock. Home


Running down them.

Chasing something that isn’t there

There is a gap, a fuzzy void. There always has been.

A day at the office.

I don’t know when, after I think.



I am happy, it must be before.

The doors ping open.

She smiles.

We join hands.

I say something, I don’t know what.

Things are getting blurry. But still she laughs.

We decide to stay at mine tonight, its closer. When?

Holding hands, I look at our reflections in the mirrors either side.

Happiness stretched to infinity.





My heart stutters.

She gets off. He gets on.



He staggers off.


12. Desk. Numbers. 6. Stairs

Empty stairs


She’s moved out.

The doors ping open.

She doesn’t smile.

Its after, definitely after.

She presses 11.



I repeat myself, I’m sorry


She gets off. He gets on


Again, I’m sorry.

He gets off. He’s wearing my shoes.

I go to.

Not my floor.

My fingers bleed.

12. Work, work, work. Numbers, numbers, numbers. 6. Home.


I can’t take this.

Time passes. It is what it does.

The doors ping open.

She is there.

Is she smiling?

I don’t know when but her scent makes me remember.

She presses 11.

Trapped between mirrors we stretch.



I’m sorry.

I repeat myself.



She gets off, he gets on.


11. He gets off


12. Off. Desk. Numbers. 6.


Go home.






Take the lift

The doors ping open.

I step inside.

Catch myself in the mirror.

I look older.

Time devours, it is what it does.

The loop erodes.

Stuck between mirrors, I’m stretched, my soul worn thin.

I’m alone.



The man gets on.

I don’t dare look at him.

I’m afraid. I’m tired. I’ve been drinking.

When? I don’t know. In the in-between? Is there an in-between?

Circles don’t have starts, only centres.

I can see my hands, blurry, fingers bleeding. I suck them and taste salt.

My feet.

His feet.

We are wearing the same shoes.

He reeks of misery.



It’s not a circle, it’s a hole.

He gets off, I follow. All offices look the same. Her desk. I just want to talk. She says, she has heard it all before. She has. I repeat myself. I’m making a scene. I still love her.

I have a knife. How? When? In-between? Before? After? But how? I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I repeat myself. I repeat myself. My fingers are bleeding. It is not my blood.

My eyes fill with tears. Things are getting blurry.

I walk back to the lift, shaking. I pass the woman. She is not there.

The doors are open. I see my younger self, almost unrecognisable. I turn around. Doors close.





I can’t be sure. Not somewhere but somewhen.

2 of me caught between reflections.

Infinity squared.

I lash out and punch a mirror, right or left, in reflection I cannot tell. The glass breaks and quakes. The epicentre a pupil, the shards an iris, a thousand visions of my face, my loathsome, fat face, dodge my gaze. Glances dancing around a hole.

My fingers are bleeding. I look around. I’m alone. The doors don’t open.