Menna Jenkins + Katie Craig

Follow Me

Red lanterns swing erratically against the blackness advertising Tiger Beer to anybody willing to lift their head to the cold and drizzle of the night. They glow red heart warm just for us as we birl out into the brilliance of the night grinding teeth and hunching shoulders against the cold.

Beams of scaffolding slash black against the blue-black sky and the stars, stars, stars as you pull me away from the meemaw and sudden blue bloom of an ambulance light. You pull me from disaster.

You stride me, God-like, down the back alley. The road stretches before us, golden streetlights globed with their own halos and my fake fur is wet dog matted. Make up washes down my face. Let it. Our path is illuminated and ours. On either side piles of cars rust into each other and might as well be ancient relics or fossils or dinosaurs. Everything that surrounds us is unwanted.

You are soaked to your determined skin, ‘cause when I asked if you wanted a jacket too you said “jackets are for mortals” and your smile was in the walls and my spine and on everyone else’s face.

“Come, you said, just that. Your outstretched hand was a gift, was destiny. I stepped into that shining night a really truly princess stepping from her carriage and the car park pulsed with your chivalry. I will always follow you.

Now tall mean buildings lean against the night and unfriendly dogs bark behind boarded doors. There are metal sheets instead of windows. I say “Where are we going?” which makes you human and I’ll always be sorry for that.

“Your house.” you say, That’s eighteen miles away. “My house” you say. I wince and tell you your flat is about twenty miles in the other direction. It’s dark and there are no friendly taxi lights. The only noise is the rain in the gutters and an angry dog nearby. “I’m cold you say, small and fragile.

There is no shelter and no warm glow. I pull you up the street behind me, feeling the shake of your shivering hand as I try the doors of black closes and cars. I kick against the door of an abandoned caravan until it gives in to my platform boot and I drag you in to it, swaddling us in the curtains and a blanket and whatever I can find.

“I love you” you say, then pass out on my shoulder. Your face blossoms warmly in the orange glow of my cigarette.

And all over the city bells ring twelve, cheers plume from nearby flats and life is suddenly around us. You snore softly. “Happy New Year” I whisper.