It’s been forever since I last posted anything. Sadly, balancing work commitments, exams and moving house left me with little time to write. Will resume regular writing over the course of the next month. So this was a prompt exercise my friend and I completed to get the creativity going oncemore. Feel free to comment.
She hastily replaced the photographs in the drawer. Looking back over her shoulder, Janine could see Michael from the window. On the ground below he headed back, fish and chips in hand. There was no time to risk reading through the letter. Later perhaps. When he was in the shower or something. Now she knew where to look, she would be more efficient next time. I could even take a picture of the letters and read them at home. Janine felt a twang of guilt. She knew this was a betrayal of Michael’s trust. Janine knew she shouldn’t be so suspicious and this was a hang up from her own past. Michael hadn’t really given her any reason to mistrust him. But she couldn’t help it either. She was all too aware of Men’s ability to conceal the truth. Janine had to know what Michael had been involved in.
Carefully Janine put back the books that had kept the pictures hidden from view, hoping that the angle would be just as Michael had left them. Perhaps this was why Michael had always been so careful about his and her side of the bed. Even if he hadn’t been when they clambered into bed, before lights out Michael would find some way to be on his side, the left side. Janine shut the oak wood draw and headed back to the window.
Michael’s flat was at a height where you could see for miles around and still identify the faces closest to you. She could see Michael grinning up at her. It was as if he knew she’d be looking out expectantly. After all, it was Janine who had sent him out for food. She was famished after last night. They’d spent the night in getting to know one another better. Or so Janine thought. Whilst she had enjoyed it all immensely, she knew there were parts of Michael’s mind, which were closed off to her. He hadn’t disclosed everything. Not that one should have to of course.
He presented just as he did now walking along the promenade, like the embodiment of an easy Sunday morning; wind swept hair, smiling passively, and enjoying the good life. Yet there was something beyond all this. Just like the momentary solemn expression that crept over Michael’s face searching for a gap in the traffic his conversation flickered with references to a sinister past. You’d almost miss them, but Janine always heard more then what was said. It gnawed at her now, especially having seen the pictures.
Michael crossed over and left her sight. The images from the photographs came back to her mind. All of them included a young man who seemed tired of life. Who was he? Michael had his arm round him or held his hand in almost every photo. There was one of them sat on a sofa together, the man slept with his legs outstretched and his feet resting in Michael’s lap. Michael gazed over at him with a longing expression on his face. And then there was the young girl who appeared in several photos too. She must have been about twenty two, long curly brown hair, vivacious looking. She seemed intimate with both men. Perhaps a little more so with the weather beaten man. They seemed to be on holiday. The backdrop was rural, a cottage of some kind and others with rolling green countryside, Cornwall or the Lake District maybe. Where were they now?
Janine walked back over to the bed and climbed in, bringing the duvet up close to her neck. She thought of the cream envelope addressed to Michael that lay with the photos. No address or stamp. Just his name in a scrawny blue script. Janine felt an uneasy wave spread through her arms. They felt weak with a fear. It dawned on her that Michael didn’t have any pictures up in the apartment. In fact, there was nothing of a personal nature that gave any insight into his life. This was the first thing she had seen and he hadn’t mentioned them at all. To be kept by his bedside they had to mean something to him. For secret glimpses when nobody else was looking.
Janine heard the key in the lock. She couldn’t let on to Michael what she had seen. It could be nothing. Just some old friends. Nothing to worry about.
“Hey” Michael called to her as he pulled off his shoes. She lay back on the bed and smiles at her reflection. Look enthusiastic. Find that hunger again.
“What are you grinning about?” Michael appeared in the doorway. Janine looked at him with a keen eye, searching his face for the hidden truths.
Thanks for reading. You can read my friends attempt with the same prompt here