The bloke from the gym delivered it. He was a big grim faced bloke. One of those who was probably grim faced all the time not just when delivering dead men’s leavings. He said it was the stuff out of your locker. That they were sorry for the delay, they hadn’t realised… Of course, it was my fault. I forgot to tell them. Well there was so much to sort out. Insurances, banks, will.
It’s surprising really. After all, you spent so much time at the gym honing that glistening body to perfection, you’d think it would be one of the first things I thought of. But anyway, it’s sorted now. Membership cancelled, bag of locker contents duly returned in three Morrison’s carrier bags.
I didn’t even know you kept stuff there. I have to say it all smelt a bit rank. In one of the bags was a blue towel, that still felt slightly damp. It had black mould growing in its folds. Another bag held a pair of your trainers. Perfectly white still, like you hadn’t run anywhere in them. They are wrapped in the white vest that accentuated your tan like nothing else did. Come to think of it, you were always tanned. How come? Not the sunbeds surely?
The other bag held bits and bobs. A half empty packet of chewing gum; A sweat stained wrist band; Ten pounds twenty in cash; The photograph of us together on the beach that some poor stranger was commandeered into taking. We’re both throwing our heads back laughing ‘cos the man’s bald head was sunburnt to a crisp. It’s not very flattering of either of us, but I’m glad it’s the one you chose to keep in the locker. Happier times.
At the bottom of the bag I found two other photographs. Both of the same blond and curvy woman. The sort of woman you professed to detest. You hated it if I wore too much make-up or revealing clothes. You said you liked a woman with some decorum.
In the first photo she’s standing against some bit of gym equipment, possibly a cross-trainer. Leaning against it, her long legs brown and bare, and trainer clad feet crossed at the ankles. She’s wearing very short grey shorts, and a shocking pink top. Her head is tilted back, lengthening her throat. You can just see the blond mane curling down her back. In her left hand she’s holding a bottle of water, while her right arm is draped over the machine in that casual elegance that always eludes me.
The second picture is a close up of her. I can see her features clearly. No bruises. Fat ruby lips, upturned nose, too far apart eyes. She’s pouting and looking up at the camera in a ghastly parody of Princess Diana looking innocent. Innocent this girl is not. There’s a scrawled telephone number written on the back in some dark pencil, I suspected eyeliner, but can’t be sure. No name though, so I gave her a name. Jezebel.
The dust had settled a bit. Bruises, sores and soul healed, and I was ready for a new challenge. Seeing those pictures was the catalyst that started me on the keep fit regime, so I joined the gym.
I’d been a couple of times before I bumped into Jezebel. Literally. I nearly bounced off her enhanced boobs as she turned the corner at precisely the same time as I turned from the opposite direction. She smiled and said sorry. I looked her in the eye and asked brusquely
‘Do you know who I am?’
‘Err..no, should I?’ she said in an unmistakably Brummie accent.
What can I say, I was flustered. Perhaps I should have just said I was your partner, see if there was any reaction, but my mind had gone into melt down, stymied by her guileless smile, so I just mumbled something like
‘mm.. well… maybe not.’
She, understandably, looked a bit confused (she looked like the sort who was easily confused anyway to be honest) as I brushed past her and hurriedly went and shut myself in the nearest loo to think it through.
I was angry. Angry at her. Angry at you. Angry at myself. Hurt and humiliated.
I’d confront her. That’s what I’d do. Grab her glossy locks and pull her off whatever she was on and find out what she was up to with you. I’d slap her, punch and kick her just like you did to me. I’d push her over and see her blood run. I thought about how it would make her hair sticky and red. How those spider lashed blue eyes would roll back in her head. I could picture it.
She’d look like you did the day I fought back. A rag doll. Limp and lifeless.
Suddenly I recognised your jealousy reflected in my eyes, green and fizzing with danger. I appalled myself.
I hadn’t thought this through. I hadn’t even got any proof of infidelity. Maybe he knew her before he knew me. Maybe she was a relative, cousin perhaps. And so what if you’d had a fling. You’re nothing but dust and memories and there’s nothing I can do to change the past.
I left the gym and have never been back. To this day I don’t know who she was. What she meant to you. If you treated her better than you treated me. I don’t want to know. You still had my picture in your locker. You were still mine when I killed you.