It floated and came to rest on my leg. A piece of crumpled paper, a little dog-eared and damp. Maybe it had floated through a puddle before finding me. It looked like it belonged to no one and being bored I bent and picked it up.
I was just waiting you see. Standing in front of a shop and watching my family shop for sparkly t-shirts and tight jeans. I am a baggy type of person and the tinny music had got to me. The smell of shops turn my stomach, stale sweat and too much perfume, yet the others never seemed to notice. They smiled and laughed, picking up clothing and touching well handled goods. It gave me the creeps. At least that’s what I said to them, but the reality was that I was fat. Not massively so but enough to feel different in the shop. To feel the eyes of the stick-insect shop assistants look at me with a disapproving stare. What was I doing in a shop that only went to size 12 when I was definitely bigger?
I found it easier to stand outside and watch through the window. Like I was watching exotic animals at the zoo; the perfect people in the perfect shop getting the perfect clothes because they were the perfect size. Sometimes I wonder at my size and then think that it is made ten times worse because my sister is a size six. It’s like the world just wanted to underline the fact that I am abnormal.
I look at the paper in my hand, curled to fit and in my head I could almost hear my mother saying, “Put that down. You don’t know where it has been.”
I don’t, I am interested. Where had it come from? I open it carefully so that it doesn’t tear where it is damp. There scrawled in careful hand-writing is three words.
I see you.
I open it a bit more and there is…
You in the black top.
I’m wearing black. Lots of people wear black though.
And red shoes.
I have red shoes. Less likely that this note is not for me.
Yes, you Clarissa.
Okay, that’s my name.
I just wanted to say I see you and I like to watch you.
Below it is a drawing of a heart, slightly lop-sided. I look up and around, but see no one. What I do see is about five different notes. All of them blowing down the high-street. All of them appear identical. I lunge for one and open it, It’s the same.
My mum and sister come out of the shop. My sister simpers toward me. “Have you got any valentines?”
I had been trying to conveniently forget the fact it was Valentines. But the note in my hand changed everything. I turn to her and smile. “Yes.”
“Oh,” she said, deflated. “Where is it?”
“Everywhere.” And I gesture to the letters blowing like confetti around us. She looks with her mouth open and I smile. Things were going to be different.