It was only the briefest glimpse, but that was enough. I knew I would be yours forever.
I didn’t go looking for love that day. I was just walking through town, thinking about nothing very much. Then a glimpse through a window. The corner of my eye. Just a hint of a vision of such perfect beauty. Enough to interrupt my thoughts; to pull me from the drudgery of my day. I saw a wide bright eye. A face. A curve. That was all.
I paused as I felt the universe shift, just for me.I had reached a quantum moment in my life; a moment ordained by the very Heavens. The Gods watched and waited; to see two entities meet that should never have existed apart.
Who am I to argue against fate? To act against divine will? I turned back for a better look – how could I do otherwise? I saw you properly. I admired you; your presence, your aura. I admit that I stared, and for a long time too … though it felt like no time at all. It was terribly impolite, but you didn’t seem to mind.
He introduced us, the man in the shop. You and I. I don’t remember anything of him; he was nothing to me. He was just a way to find out about you. And suddenly it no longer felt like ‘you’ and ‘I’. Just ‘us’. Together. As if it had always been so. And I knew it would be like that forever.
Introductions were made, pleasantries and money exchanged. We met. I took you home.
We got to know each other; our love blossomed as we knew it would. To me, you were beautiful and perfect. To caress you was to touch heaven itself.
We learnt each other’s little idiosyncracies and needs – we loved each other’s best and we tolerated each other’s worst.
I learnt of your incredible appetite. How I loved to feed you! No matter what else I could give you, you always wanted more! And I was happy to oblige. Truly, I felt I would move heaven and earth for you if it would keep you smiling.
For your part, your patience with me seemed to stretch the infinite. Such a good listener! All my problems, my mistakes and my triumphs: you listened to them all, became part of them, shared them all. Your countenance was so trusting, so innocent. You absorbed all my worries, numbed all my pain.
I remember being so excited on the evening I would introduce you to my friends. What better opportunity than a dinner party? I hadn’t told them very much about you, because I thought that would make the surprise all the better. I knew they’d love you almost as much as I.
Alas, it was not so. I introduced you. Told them you were mine, and of our love. They laughed for a minute; they thought I was joking. They didn’t believe I could find love with someone as beautiful as you. Then they were silent. Then they shouted. They told me I was stupid. That it could never be.
How could they! All this time they had pretended to be my friends! But they scorned you before they even knew you!
I see it in perfect clarity now: they were never real friends to me. They were happy to have me around when I was single … to them I was Malvolio, the unlucky-in-love buffoon who contrasted against their own lacklustre relationships. But when I found something as perfect as you they showed their true colours. The intense emerald of their envy and the rancid stench of their bile.
We left the party without saying another word. I clutched you tightly … ever so tightly. At that moment I knew that no-one would understand our love. No-one must see us together! They would try to part us. They would not cease until they were sure I was alone again. Truly, I could not bear to be apart from you – not even for a moment.
So here we stay, in the flat. I cannot leave. I cannot go to work. I do not wash, or dress, or brush my hair, or answer the telephone or the door, or open my curtains. I spend all my time with you. I live only to make you as happy as you make me.
I spend all day feeding you, comforted in the knowledge that I keep you smiling.
And as my vision dims, my body turns numb and I feel consciousness slip away, the voices of my former friends echo in my ears …
“Simon … they are hippos. Hungry hungry Hippos … they will always be hungry.”
Inspired by a documentary about people who fall in love with inanimate objects. And a smidgeon of insomnia.