section 7


I think it’s Monday.

The changeling was waiting for me today, I find myself walking more & more, huge circles of the town, movement seems to keep everything at bay & if I remember to take a handbag, I can feel almost normal, just a woman going about her every day business – nothing to see here.

She was standing on my doorstep & seemed to have undergone one of her many total transformation through clothes personality changes – gone was the muted grey suit, skirt short enough to suggest at availability, hint of cleavage & cleverly understated statement jewellery – our shared addiction to fashion magazines may not be shared any more, but she clearly is still working some look & I still continue to have some tenuous memory link to all those shiny pages of yesterday.

She stood in front of me, hair cropped, biker boots, artfully torn jeans, her bag large enough to fail the hand luggage test, only her face was the same – that odd mixture of anger, contempt and a terrible , terrible longing. I couldn’t help myself, I shrunk back from her, wishing myself or more accurately  her, far, far away.

“you never answer your phone” – the tone was accusatory, I tried hard to reach for an insouciance tone “well, you know me, technology & all that………………” to my horror, I felt the words slip away, I looked at her in mute despair and for a moment we looked at each other, there was a split second, an opportunity when it would have been so natural, so easy to have gathered her up in my arms, to have given her the comfort she so obviously needed and to have taken some comfort for myself. I pulled myself up, we both drew back from each other, warily eyeballing the other, like two seasoned combatants, I drew on my reserves of British manners “ do you want some tea then?”

We both stepped into the tiny apartment, breathing heavily, both aware of a missed opportunity. She looked around in horror and for a moment I saw my home through her eyes. My energies [ such as they are] have been  all consumed with trying to manage what is left of my life. The interloper in my head allows me so little peaceful time & there are so many rituals I carry out to keep her quiet that my days are a blur of busyness and task, self  management of my new found state.

The mattresses against the wall filched from skips & alley ways are a sane precaution, there are times when she is so loud, so insistent that the urge to try & smash her into silence becomes unbearable – I have created my own padded cell, a desperate attempt to save myself, to keep a sense of care, a stab  at self unharm.

But, standing next to the changeling, I have a sudden moment of clarity and see that the already cluttered room is full of filthy mattresses, the windows  are covered in newspaper. I have collected images of twinhood, tried to create a placatory alter & turned all the mirrors to the wall – it is by any stretch of the imagination an unusual setting.

We stand in silence, shoulder to shoulder & I realise that she is about to make a decision & am afraid.

About cathi rae

50ish teacher & aspiring writer and parent of a stroppy teenager and carer for a confused bedlington terrier and a small selection of horses who fail to shar emy dressage ambitions. Interested in contemporary fiction but find myself returning to PG Wodehouse when the chips are down View all posts by cathi rae

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