Sunday, 27 June 2021

'An Unlikely Memento' by Laura Dobson

Her toothbrush outstays her. 

It is a pointed gesture, although she would claim otherwise. 

His reluctance to cohabit had riled her. She had explained endlessly that it made practical sense - that London rent was untenable - but he’d observed closely her response to a steady influx of friends’ wedding invites. 

Eventually, she had given up. Declared that it wasn’t ‘going anywhere’. Hoicking up tartan pyjama bottoms, he will stumble across it - chunky aquamarine lurking next to his eco-friendly bamboo - and will find himself unable to discard it. 

Taking in the trampled bristles and caked paste, he might reasonably wonder why she has not already done so. Neither, though, will particularly disgust him. 

Hesitating, he’ll pick up the intruder, the one item she explicitly stated that she would not share. 

He will brush his teeth once, spit, rinse, and then twice. The habit had bemused her, when she’d started to insist that they stand over the sink together. 

Manoeuvring the brush around his mouth, he’ll recall amateur attempts at French plaits, his first curious glimpse of a blood-soaked sanitary towel, and the tetris-like embrace required to squeeze two adult bodies into the tiny glass cubicle.

It is in this room that he’ll feel her absence the most.

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