You do understand that, if you were Picachu, I’d choose you, right?
I remember when Jeremy found this note. It was on the mantle piece of his bedroom, next to photos of his days as a boom-operator on the set of Gladiator. It had been expertly wedged between the breasts of a statuette Jeremy’s Dad had found in a market in Zimbabwe. The note was written on Sarah’s work stationery. Dotted around the house were other clues that she found us intriguing, in particular, Jeremy. It was the strangest house inspection we’d ever heard of.
Above his writing desk she placed a post-it that read: “If I could read the future from now on, I would.” It hadn’t made sense at the time. Above our toilet she wrote, “Smells like rain. Unusual.” It was a peculiar thing to write, but on reflection, the air was damp in our bathroom because of the leaks and it did smell like rain. By far the most poignant was the note that neither of us found. It was discovered by Anne, Jeremy’s girlfriend at the time: “I’ve inspected. Successfully complete with a hug and kiss. I’ve enjoyed being in your room. I’d like to have my head above this note. And get to know you there. Sarah. Xo.”
As you can imagine, the note raised questions. Not just the standard Are you cheating on me? type questions, but ones that derived from the understanding of a phrase that Anne believed only her and Jeremy shared. And, to be fair to Jeremy, no one else had known. It was their phrase. One he’d conjured in the foothills of Mt Etna only months before. He’d turned to Anne and said, with great honesty – fleeting honesty, but honesty nonetheless – that he loved her. That he was glad he’d met her on this trip and that he finally felt like he knew someone better than anyone else in the world. The reason he gave was that “You never truly know someone until their head is on your pillow.” In the end it was the notion that perhaps this saying was no longer just theirs that drove Jeremy and Anne apart.
As one relationship crumbled, Jeremy laid the foundations of something new, and so did I. What we drew from the notes was vastly different. They made Jeremy feel interesting for the first time in his short life. Similarly they’d sparked something in me, a sort of disappointment. I was always regarded as the more interesting of the two of us and I felt a little cheated. Had I not cleaned my room prior to inspection, perhaps the notes would have been left for me. Had I strategically placed some of my trinkets, books, photos of dogs in parks, perhaps Sarah would have fallen in love with my room. I grew increasingly jealous as Jeremy filtered pieces of information back to me from their first date, first night of love-making and their first meal that ensued. So much so that I stood outside his door most nights in the hope I’d hear them in the throws of passion. Though the only sound I ever heard was a giggle. And it was his. His distinct, sharp, innocent giggle. It made me sick.
I found Andrew two weeks after Sarah moved into our house, four months after the first notes. He was bleeding profusely from one ear, groaning in pain. One of his legs was badly broken and I assumed he’d been hit by a car. I called an ambulance, then decided against it and hailed a taxi. After he was released from hospital I nursed him in my room for five months, with Jeremy on the other side of the wall, rehabilitating nothing. It was during those five months that I started stealing Sarah’s underwear from the laundry, and sleeping with them inside my pillowcase. Dribbling on them, snoring on them, lying face down into them. The best days were when I found dirty ones. The scent would stay for two days at least and for those two days my nose owned her. Andrew never seemed to mind.