1. That English teacher you had that really ‘got you’.
2. Your Father the first time you saw him fail.
3. The popular kid in class the first time they included you.
4. The girl you thought would be your girlfriend who then moved.
5. The cop that took you home when you got lost.
6. The smart-ass sitcom best friend you always thought was just like you.
7. The doctor that saved your mum.
1. They finally noticed that thing you did, they are sorry they didn’t before.
2. They know what you’ve been through and think you handled it well.
3. They were just thinking of you and decided to call.
4. They only just understood what you were talking about that time and it struck home.
5. It turned out you were right all along.
6. There was no one else they could talk to about something this important.
7. They realised they were that one that let you down.
1. You talk for a long time on all the things that make you sad.
2. You mention the things you’re scared to tell your wife.
3. You explain how it never felt right, they understand.
4. They help you understand where things went wrong.
5. You confess about the thing, and cry.
6. You give them the secret ambition you never mention to others.
7. You admit the invisible distrust of one you love.
But slowly you sense
1. Some kind of second meaning in their words.
2. Unlikely coughs that sound like strangled laughs.
3. Their eyes on yours when yours are somewhere else.
4. A vagueness in their relation of events.
6. Their gaze flicks to an unseen audience.
7. Their eyes don’t smile when they do, and do when they should not.
1. They look you in the eye and slowly dribble bloody phlegm.
2. They stand behind you, grab your hands and giggle hysterically into your neck.
3. They bite you, draw blood breathing hard and don’t let go.
4. They kick you savagely in the back of the knee.
5. They throw the contents of your pockets in the street.
6. They grab your lower lip in their fist and shake.
7. They pull a clump of hair right out of your head.
And you can do nothing because
1. You told them everything, even the secrets.
2. There is no-one you know here and people look at you like you are dead.
3. Fighting would mean admitting it is real.
4. The authorities told you not to call again.
5. It’s all coming back and you are there on the floor in the rain again.
6. They know about you and others know as well.
7. You suddenly realise you can die right now.
1. They beat you bloody, laughing out the things you said.
2. They choke you to the ground, as you black out you see your own face smile.
3. They become someone weaker and smaller than you, and cry out for help. Faces turn.
4. They say they will return, and disappear.
5. They double you and start screaming as they point.
6. They knife you and ease your body to the ground, whispering your address.
7. They grab hold of you screaming out your name, claiming terrible things.