Love Your Enemies
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A collection of ten stories about people trying to find beauty in adverse circumstances. The first is Layla Carter, 16, from North London, whose nose is too big. The last is a lonely woman who meets a satyr in her kitchen and asks: Can I feel your fur?.
person, do you, Jason? You don’t think I’m particularly blessed with intelligence.’ He looked surprised. ‘Of course you’re intelligent. I love you, Sammy Jo, I love your mind, your conversation, your body, your beautiful pink nipples, our baby. I do respect you, and I like to think that I treat you as an equal …’ She snorted. ‘Well thanks a lot for that. I am your equal, I don’t think you deserve any special thanks for treating me as such.’ Jason leaned over the table and picked up the pizza
of her own sexuality. When she comes to terms with that, she’ll be a happier and more complete person.’ After their appointment the Carters took Layla for a hamburger at the McDonald’s in Enfield’s town centre as a treat. She sipped her milkshake and frowned. She said, ‘What difference does all this make to me? Talking won’t change the size of my nose, will it? Why does everyone have to pretend that my nose isn’t the problem but that I am? It’s as if everyone who wants to help me is determined
presence in the pub was the fact that she was waiting for someone. She was expecting someone. It made her feel less vulnerable, also less approachable. On this occasion she was glad that she had looked up. Stephanie stood in the doorway, looking ruffled and indecisive. Jane waved at her and smiled. Stephanie caught her eye, smiled back, relieved, then pointed her finger towards the bar. Jane nodded. Stephanie then pointed a finger towards Jane’s drink. Jane shook her head and placed a prim, flat
but in a different place so that she could study the damp ring on the table’s surface, moisten her finger in the dampness and then draw on the polished wood. She drew another circle. ‘I walked over to him and told him that I knew he had placed some socks inside his jacket. I asked whether he intended to pay for them.’ ‘What did he say? Didn’t you try and call the store detective? I would have.’ Stephanie drew two dots inside the circle and then a straight line. The circle was now a face, a
cake as a peace offering. After she’d rung his bell she waited for several minutes before he answered. She didn’t ring again or hesitate and turn away because she was sure he was in. The house seemed to fester, possessed and vitalized by the spirit within. When John answered the door she tried to swallow back an impulse of sheer disgust. He looked like someone she had never met before; a stranger with a strange disease, a beggar on the streets of an alien city. His body looked broken and