I shiver, sitting clothed and staring. A silence tuned into waves and sky. The salt holds me still. I am cold, smiling. I have been swimming. November. Scotland, and I have been swimming – point to point – the thought of this makes me wild.
Crushed cardamom and honey: the only way to eat porridge. I toast the seeds counting out five. I like to hold them in my palm when they’re warm. Rub the shells off between thumb and finger. I used to only have time for toast, but now I have time for warm cardamom. And Chopin, I have all the pauses in a day for Chopin. I eat my breakfast on the windowsill wrapped in a towel and blanket. My hair patterns the glass if I pull away, and my toes twitch on the flagstone.
As I lie here, in the bath, I think of you. Continue reading “Best Society”
‘Kate wore a nice dress.’
‘Yes, Kate wore a nice dress.’
‘She’s always looked lovely in blue.’
‘His new partner.’
‘His new partner.’
The last car rolled off the drive. They had insisted on everyone leaving.
She tucked blond hair behind an ear dangling an emerald in silver.
‘And the flowers. Everyone commented on the flowers.’ He made no movement, for fear the kitchen would move on.
A pipe clicked in a cupboard making a sound below her. She turned, body prepared to pick up, or see, a child.
Hair brushed back.
The gravel sat silent.
‘I’ll go and-‘ He had nothing to do.
‘-yes, I’ll come with you.’
Infinity is a long time.
Well it’s time upon time added to time divided by time.
A lot of minutes ticking over in the infinite.
And you just float: fingers and toes, seconds and hours.
My dad used to talk about it. Those numbers that never end, how long it takes to cycle to the moon. It always made me feel small when he spoke about space: all that blackness with nothing containing it.
Anyway, I don’t think about time much these days.
But sometimes it catches you
the thought of it all.
Hardly had the gust of wind passed and she was back. The butt end etching the boy’s eyes, his nose, caught – momentarily – on his collar. He watched his mother’s lips: their smudge of lipstick, how they squish to the side then spit. He’d seen people kissing in the park behind the swings. He couldn’t ever imagine these doing that. Her hair static while her head swung back and forth. She uses the iron and a dish cloth to straighten it, the activity smells like sour toast. Another gust came, and she returned to heaving up ash ends. The boy wondered how long this would go on for: the screaming, the coughing. He was digging, digging to Australia. And his spoon was getting stuck on something when she appeared above him. He felt he was close. His secret broke a smile.
There is something so about you. When your fabric slips to reveal skin. When you, you, there is something so that I cannot word. It’s not love. I’ve felt that before, that’s light on water, that’s a dazzle. This, this is a fascination but. To touch that skin. I have never felt this. What your energy does to my space I have never felt. Maddening. I miss breaths, I miss words to think of you. You wore silk and it slipped and I near cried.
I did it because I ran out of coffee and the flowers were too blue.
But why d’you do it. Why?
Give m’ a light. And a kiss.
You could be in the fucking ground and you ain’t gunna tel me why.
Do you think it’s romantic?
Do you love me?
Yeah I fucking love you.
Sometimes you need a dad and sometimes you need a mum. Like dad is good at spaghetti but mum was better at brownies. Dad’s not good at brownies and when I told him to make them like mum he threw the plate out the window and said they were bad for us anyway. Mum used to say they were bad for us, but then she’d wink and eat one. When dad says things are bad for us they go out the window or into bin bags. Dad is good with geography because he knows the name of every river in England. Mum was good at maths. Dad scrunches his eyes and uses the calculator on his phone, and looks up sums on google and then explains. Mum knew it all from her head. Mum was good at singing in the kitchen and making shadows with a torch and wearing soft jumpers. Mum was good at kissing bruises better. I liked it when she gave me a hug when dad shouted. Dad gets very tired but he plays football with me on Saturdays. He also lets me have the big popcorn at the cinema and sometimes I’m allowed to sleep in his bed even though I’m too old for that now. Dad used to tell mum jokes that made her laugh like a pig, and then I would laugh but not at dad’s joke at mum’s laughing because it was silly. That was nice. I miss mum.
The clouds sat heavy, tempting rain with every second breeze. The pansies had dulled to grey.
‘What will we do now?’ He flicked a lighter over in his fingers, the flame brushing his fingernails. His gaze steadied upon the gravel.
‘What is there left to do?’ She fiddled with a lose thread on her jumper, tugged, and made a hole.
‘We could sleep together.’
‘We could put on some jazz, dress her up and dance her around the sitting room.’ She continued to tug.
‘What the fuck.’
She didn’t reply, tugging.
A moment past. A second breeze pulled down some rain.
‘What the fuck.’ They fell explicitly into the air.
A faint laugh stumbled from her. Her sleeve was threaded up to the elbow.
The body lay above them, motionless, as is usually characteristic of a corps. The impact had been so direct to the brain that it had left no indications of mistreatment, and one might think she was sleeping had they happened upon the room. Her lilac dress still clung awkwardly to her hips and her shoelaces remained undone. Her lipstick had smudged in the left corner, most likely a result of the fall. She was splayed on the floor. Stilled, and more beautiful than she had ever been.
Salt. The air overly seasoned with ladlefuls of salt. And silence. A salty silence. The waves lapped lethargically at the sand. Two slices of coffee cake, one milky mocha. The window held a tainted view of the ocean blue. Pebbled cake crumbs garnished tables. All was stiff, empty, as though the café were a bird that had forgotten to fly to warmer skies. Continue reading “Café”
Counting fairy lights, she slipped over her thoughts. The kettle whistles. Making porridge at one in the morning as her mother used to. She won’t eat it, but nothing is made for nothing. She keeps mixing and adding until the porridge doesn’t look like food anymore.
Morning. In real time. The moon lingers by the fish pond. She waves to it but it’s occupied. On this day she will wear her jeans, a shirt and trainers- materials for her new thoughts and touches and feelings.
Clicking thumb over finger he giggles at nothing. He looks at the porridge and then her but can’t see the moon. He eats the porridge, adding salt. It tastes like a feeling.
His eye twitches to see a field, twilight. The scarecrow melts in the fire and caramel catches on his lips. He kisses her nose, making her stop counting.
Real time. She appears at the top of the stairs, fresh in her new outfit like a doll popped from a box.
Twilight that time. His hand brushes her hair and she wishes she’d put on a jumper. Counting time before jumpers could become real again.