My first was a lover of balloons – fast up, deflating slowly, achingly. Next, a magician, always kept something up his sleeve to tantalise and tease. Until, one day, the rabbit he pulled out was dead. I indulged other tastes with Clarice, a fire-breather and spinner – simultaneously thrilling, and tiring. She also spun words, then spat burning lies. For months afterwards, I’d smoke in my eyes, a scent of singeing in my hair, bitter charcoal on my tongue. Fourth was a butcher, fifth an engineer specialising in electronics and small explosions, sixth a motorbike mechanic who left me exhausted. Seventh, I gave up on. Eighth couldn’t cope with a wife and three mistresses. Ninth whined like a kennelled dog. Tenth tried to move in on date three. Maybe a few others in between, soon forgotten. Now, it’s just me, loving lover of myself, with jazz in my thoughts and fingers, doughnuts for breakfast, waffles and whisky for tea and a king-sized bed that’s all my own. I curl up like a cobra shedding its old skin.
Sarah Leavesley is a fiction writer, poet, journalist and photographer, with flash published by journals including Jellyfish Review, Litro, Spelk, Ellipsis and Fictive Dream. Her short novellas ‘Always Another Twist’ and ‘Kaleidoscope’ are published by Mantle Lane Press.