saw this dog in a city centre , think he will make a great illustration for the EDL novella
Monthly Archives: June 2012
She scrabbles madly in her bag, hoping to find it before the caller rings off,
The voice is desperate, frantic
The line is terrible, distant, crackly,
But clear enough for her to hear that this is not the voice of her only child.
My mobile rang at 4 am , there’s only one person who ever calls me then. I’m awake immediately, grabbing for the phone. I can hear him breathing, close, like he’s next to me. I feel cold, try to wrap the duvet round me with my free hand
“come” he says
So, i do
Grab some stuff, bundle the sleeping kids into the car. I try to be quiet, but the front door sticks, wont shut, I have to slam it – bang – such a loud, sudden noise.
I’m suddenly aware of eyes on me, someone watching. I don’t turn round, but I sneak a look in the mirror. It’s the girl from yesterday, the one with possibilities, the one who isn’t what she seems. She’s standing at her window, still, just staring.
I put the car in gear and drive away , I don’t look back.
I’m driving too fast, but I can’t help it – I watch the sun come up and listen to the kids murmur in their sleep, the baby sighing on her every out breath.
We stand in the hallway, staring at each other, the baby is grizzling, hungry, unsettled. Troy knows where we are, shrinks against the wall, tries to make himself as small as possible, invisible.
The house is the same, rooms too large for their furniture, windows uncurtained, mirrors in every room and that photograph, huge, almost filling one white wall.
I look into a mirror and see his reflection staring at me, 4 images of perfection, a closed circle of desire. There is a pause and then we are touching, kissing, caressing. I don’t need to look to know that he is staring not at me, but at the reflection in the mirror. i don’t need to look because that’s what I’m doing too.
Days pass, the kids get fed,mostly, Troy finds some of his old toys and rediscovers his old game, the obsessive lining up of tiny tin cars, felt tips, plastic animals. They stretch across the white floor boards, sometimes one or both of us kick the lines apart as we walk past, sometimes we help him line them up.
“come back to me” he says and I am tempted, this house so cold, so empty, so many reflective surfaces
one night, we light candles, 20,30,40 candles, the room is ablaze. the baby sleeps on a bundle of blankets, Troy has curled up on the furthest sofa.It is very quiet.
He strokes my face, my lips, my cheeks, my eye lids – I know what will come next.
in the morning, we stand together and look into the largest mirror. We both look carefully at my reflection.
I pack the children into the car – it is time to go.
And the next morning, she was gone.
I was up at 5 – usual start to my day – Saskia doesn’t sleep much, so I’m standing at the window, still half asleep, face pressed against the glass, eyes almost closed and i hear a door slam. Bang. Its her front door closing and in 2 seconds, she & her kids are in the car and she’s away.
All through the day, i found myself at the window, just checking, seeing if her car was back. I invented reasons to walk down the street, return a bowl to no 24, drag the kids to the local shop and all the time, i was looking, checking, willing her car to come zooming around the corner.
It was a horrible, grey, sticky summers day, not a breath of air, the air solid, everything felt heavy, weighed down. Everything was too much effort, but i couldn’t stay still. I flitted from room to room, task to task.
Of course, the kids picked up on my mood, my restlessness. they fell out with each other and then with me. The day ended with everyone in tears. the kids crying when i sent them stupidly, stupidly early to bed and me when i sat, exhausted on the sofa. Not even sure why I was crying, only aware of this terrible weight on my chest.
Days went by and she didn’t return. Every morning I would wake up, convinced that today would be the day and every evening i would lie in bed, wrapped in misery.
A week went by and i pulled myself together. Looked around the bedroom and started stuffing dirty clothes into a bin liner, did my usual 1 or 2 machine calculation, loaded up the buggy and off we went. The kids relaxed, didn’t even ask for sweets at the laundrette.
And that’s why i missed her return, too busy watching the washing going round and round and stopping Saskia eating fluff off the floor.
The moment I get back to Cloverhill, I know somethings changed. Her car is parked outside the house, every window is open and loud and I mean loud music – dubstep – is making the window frames rattle.
i stop, cos I’m not really sure what to do, dont know whether to walk on by, knock on the door, what – i just stand there and then the decision is made for me, cos the front door opens and she steps outside and looks at me.
Her face is a mess. a real mess, black eye, spit lip, nose swollen,maybe broken and I just stand and stare, I can’t stop staring.
“i’m back ” she says and smiles and i can see that one of her front teeth is chipped, her smile is different, guarded and I know its important, really important, that I dont say anything, ask anything
“alright?” i ask, she nods and I’m impressed cos she doesn’t even touch her face, she nods again
“yeah – you know…………”
and this time, its my turn to nod, to try to act as if i do know what all this is about.
There’s a pause,
“you doing anything tomorrow?” she ask
I shrug, i want to scream – yes , I’m going to make you feel better, stroke your hair, make what ever all this has been about go away
“cos, I thought, I might come and do that decorating stuff for you, you know with the lights and all”
So, its arranged, tomorrow, Imelda , who left here 7 days ago, perfect, beautiful and now is something else, is coming to my house to make it into fairyland.
Open one eye, stretch – full body, tip to toe, every muscle taut, stretch
Yawn, face splitting, eye watering yawn, yaay
Yeeuch – face full of fish breath, fist fumbling for phone
BEEP BEEP BEEP
Slam the snooze button, silence, sleep
Both eyes open, coil, leap and………………………………..land
Aaargh – awake now Get off me ……………….and sleep
BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEPBEEP BEEP
Noooooooooooooo – C**p, overslept, leap out of bed, catch foot in duvet, thud, both knees hit hard wooden floor
One neat movement, bed to floor, paws touch the ground only to spring again
Bathroom, mirror, face, despair, face despair…………water. steam, obliterate the image
Water – ssssttttt – flick paws in disgust, back away
3rd step from the top, stretch out, relax, perfect spot for a spot of pre- prandial snooze……………………………………..snooze
B*******, B************* cat, grab handrail, breathe
look down at ladder – neat line of white on black from knee to ankle – s****, s******
Look down at paw, admire the gleaming white against the black, puurfection
Grab bowl, shake box, empty, empty bowl
EMPTY BOWL, meoww, MEoww, MEOnowww, NOWWWWWW
C****, clock, car keys, quick
C*****, cat flap – out – cat flap – in
Gather belongings, bag, book, boxes – time to boogie
Here’s the trailer
you should be ludicrous, a figure of fun, something to laugh at, to throw stones at.
moving across the screen as inside the narrative,
you move across the deserted night-time square.
move across the room
move towards the bed
clumsy, hands outstretched, reaching , grasping.
so hungry, yet shamed by this need, this emptiness
your face in the moonlight, always in moonlight, like some sad italian clown,
if eyes are the windows to the soul and you have no soul – what then are your eyes a window to?
tears for yourself, what you have become, for the thirst that drives you on or for their hunger, their need for you to do that thing that you do so well
each time believing that this will be the one
this time your hunger sated, your thirst slackened, this time you will sleep
skin on skin, pulse on something else, something almost but not yet dead, , asleep beyond sunrise, finally still
but the hunger grows again, sends you back into the night, hunting for such easy prey
they give themselves up to you, wait for you to fill their emptiness, their absence, they were dead long before you left them
and then at the end, there you are
so thin, you seem almost translucent
this is what the blood has brought you to.
I have recently become the slightly terrified owner of an iPad and have discovered the world of e- books , I cannot quite believe the magic. Somehow, I press a button on the amazon web site and the book appears on my iPad – it can only be some version of the Terry Pratchett photographic elves.
So, this novel was recommended by a friend as a light, funny read. I know nothing about the author, but the book IS light and funny and very, very rude and did that terrible thing of making me laugh out loud in an empty room.
Stephen Trulove knows a lot about books but not much about people. Join him as he lurches from one disastrous liaison to the next with sometimes unfortunate results.
Set in early eighties Manchester the book is both nostalgic and reflective and, at times, silly and opinionated – just like the main character. – so says the amazon write up.