– It was more Echo than Narcissus, honestly.
There were only so many times he could listen to this, and it was true that her line was becoming repetitive. He carried on cleaning his shoes, using a soft brush to wipe down the suede. He breathed evenly, reflecting momentarily on his own vanity. There was some satisfaction to be taken from his graceful ageing.
She looked up from her laptop, gazed over his greying hair worn short these days, waited for him to answer. He looked up too, into her eyes pooling with tears.
The writing came slow and painful. She rewrote everything endlessly in notebooks and in countless documents. Each was an iteration of the first, and only, seed: the inscription of him, the reimagining of the man. The workshop had taken place over a week ago, and she was still lurching, nauseous from the feedback.
He considered a generous offering.
– Perhaps you could write about something else.
He appraised his laces and decided to get a new pair from the drawer, and spent a couple of minutes more lining them up so they matched. They really were beautiful shoes.
SARAH ALWIN is a special needs and English tutor and writes about domestic space in South East Asian literature. She is half Dutch and half Singaporean and has made Sheffield, UK her home for almost three decades. She co-produces and co-hosts a weekly review programme, Radioactive, for community radio at Sheffield Live 93.2FM. Twitter: @evans_alwin Instagram: @sarahevansalwin