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We met in this gallery last spring. Do you remember that day? Raindrops fell against the windows, casting anxious shadows over the masterpieces; portraits of men wearing expressions of disdain, discomfort, boredom. As I lingered, you approached, and I felt your irritation on my skin before you reprimanded me for daring to allow my umbrella to drip onto your perfect parquet flooring.
At least I had an umbrella with me that day, which was unusually efficient of me. But you did not yet know that of me, any more than I could guess that you organised your sock drawer by hue, transforming the balled-up beige, green, blue woollens into something resembling a close up of an Impressionist painting.
Eyeing your flint-stern expression across the gallery made me yearn to run my fingernail against the soft wax of Anish Kapoor’s imaginings, perhaps trace my tongue across his grooved landscapes, press thumbprints into his abstract-thoughts-made-physical, or peel the wax right off; reveal the soft edible layers beneath.
Your horror amused me; my laughter disquieted, then, unexpectedly (to me, at least), enticed you.
We reached an understanding as I stared into one of Turner’s stormier seascapes. You came up behind me, tucked two icy fingers into the soft warmth at the inside of my elbow. And for a moment I was underwater, unable to draw breath, fighting to break the surface. You waded in to save me. Do you remember?
Judy Darley is a fiction writer and journalist who specialises in writing about travel, the arts and anything that catches her eye and fires her imagination. Judy’s short stories, flash fiction and poems have been published by literary magazines and anthologies including Fiction 365, Riptide volume 7, Litro Magazine's Dutch issue, The View From Here and ‘The Love of Looking’. Judy's debut short story collection, ‘Remember Me To The Bees’, is due out in 2013. She blogs at SkyLightRain.com and tweets at @EssentialWriter