We had drunk too much. We stood propped by glass cubes, mocking a clear-paned window. Like us, its clarity is mottled, a once translucency muddling with ribbons of neon green like escaped weeds from a frog-filled pond.
I fell in love against those cubes. Against the neon green, showcasing me the answer: him. Bent-back like me, cast as a fish on a line, happy to dangle before love’s wholesome, obliterating bite. We stood there for what felt like forever. Neither being a part of, nor absent from, Londonia, and its mecca epicentre of urbanity. We paused the tape; flipped the switch; reversed the flow of the Sky remote. I want to hang here as an unseen bat suckling from nature’s ironic verdancy – it beams on concrete bricks, yellow painted lines by government officials; pre-recorded yet upbeat mannequins whom circuitously repeat the disturbing mantra: “Mind the gap!” .
We had not minded the gap. We had not even attempted to abide by rules and siren loud instructions. We shared I-phone, cordless earphones, beating our feet like a small yet uniquely formed Indian tribe. Classic 80s tunes reverberated in our minds, reminding us of the best scenes from Stranger Things. No words were needed. A lyric would etch a forming symmetrical smile to our plastic-evading lips. Wanting them to press each other. Touch the liquid surface with a curious tip of the tongue, pink and lucid.
Londonia is a futuristic world which we nestle within: playing in its underground stations as feral children in open, expansive woodlands. The neon filter is our sunlight, making us look up, catch a glimmer of the burnt-out sun. It is dying. A red star orbiting our heads as a ghost at its own wake. It trails a melancholy veil behind itself, comets catching on its tulle delicacy, coursing holes like true love where fragments of hearts remain lost. We see the scorch marks branded on her face like Icarus: the sun wanted too much, flew too high and above her station. I admire her fading tenacity like a monarch butterfly left to singe in a cigarette ashtray resting on a sticky pub table.
I hope we remain this way, him and I: marred by neon sage, ageing within its lasers where alien worlds feel close. We wear sunglasses here: they are part of our playground; our subterranean park where we can be cool, just chill.
I don’t know how many cocktails I’ve drunk but enough to blur at edges like a hologram curling, bending to hazy corners. I think I love him. The neon glow tells me so, crowning him in its mint highlighter as an important quote in a Shakespeare play. He is mine for the future, be what may.
I shake my waves, freeing curly blonde hair from its bobble, letting him smell notes of my Pantene shampoo as the underground train pummels towards us. I take his hand in mine, sheltering him from the madness.
The doors open. We refuse to move.