“6% battery. Six, a number I could have wrapped around us over and over again…”

Dry wine mouth, last night’s hairspray still in place, phone on 6% battery – we sat in silence. Not a tired silence, that ghostly knowing silence. We had been here before, and my phone going dead meant nothing in relation to him, that would not be the limit to the communication that we badly needed to have. We communicated with intimacy, it shouted, screamed, screeched the answers I was looking for, but somehow, everything about him always directed me back to the same place… questions. We were a tangled mess, a back-up pile of half-working Christmas lights.

6% battery. Six, a number I could have wrapped around us over and over again. It was the number of hours I knew I would spend sobbing tomorrow, the number of girls huddled around me in a bathroom anytime disaster struck with him, the number of times I had looked at him and wondered why I wasn’t good enough, and the number of chicken nuggets I badly needed now to cushion the heartache again. Also, strong ties to the devil, which somehow just fit.

And then, the battery count fell to 5, and he was gone – the start of the countdown until our next time. Time ticked on the way to the next explosion, yet here I was, still in the midst of this one. My phone dead, heart wherever he was, the same old question marks pulling me back into all the madness. I put the kettle on and thought: “What on bloody earth are we doing?”

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