by Peter Wild
Jon has mental relationships with about half a dozen people he sees more or less every day. For instance, if he leaves the house for work at 7:30 there is a girl on the bus, a cute girl, sort of indie looking with a dark bob, thin fingers and interesting, colourful clothes that tended to clash but not in a bad way; if he leaves the house at 7:40, there is an older woman with mousy hair and freckled hands. The cute indie girl is always reading and the curious thing is she is always reading books that Jon has already read and liked tremendously which makes Jon think that, if, somehow, the two of them ever got to talking, they would get on like the proverbial house afire. The older woman is sort of muted, subdued, downcast, she doesn’t read, tends to look out of the window – Jon thinks she’s sad and he’d like to know why because, if he could, he’d like to make her smile although he doesn’t have the first clue how he’d go about doing that. There are maybe four or five other women that Jon sees more or less every day, women he can imagine talking to, women he can imagine kissing, women he can, if push came to shove, imagine loving (loving desperately or noncommittally or ambiguously or glibly or sadly or dramatically or mysteriously or some other brand spanking new emotion that has yet to have a name). They comfort Jon, the mental relationships, and provide him with enough of an excuse to duck actually getting out there into the world, living life to the full, all that.
Peter Wild, whose full catalog is here, is the editor of The Flash & Perverted by Language: Fiction inspired by The Fall. You can read more here.