Tag Archives: short stories

EVEN THE ODDS

 I open my eyes and I am blitzed by an array of green, red, and yellow coloured fruit. I pose and I am poised, in front of that golden gilded hall mirror. The reflection is of me, in the original inpatient stay clinic, before this modern therapy treatment was possible. Before the pandemic rise of it. Like the eye of a hurricane, it mischievously lulled a large portion of members of our community into a state of security, then sucked us up with one sinister intake of breath.

 My reflection captures me in all my nakedness. My hair swathes over my scrawny shoulders and breasts. A pair of hands come up from behind me, pushes away my tresses and cups my breasts. A deep throb pulsates in-between my inner thighs. I cannot fight it. I submit.  My head tilts back; my mouth opens to reveal my tongue. It is like a red carpet, waiting for a celebrity to enter. It is him. His dreadlocks tinkle with multi coloured beads. His tongue commands to explore mine as if it is a well-versed master of sorcery. I tremble from the hot expulsion trickling down my inner thighs.M y eyes remould into wide crop circles.  I realise that it has tricked me again. I spit out the clustered black mob of grapes into the bowl of fruit. I only have a moist stain as a reminder of his existence.

‘The time is 06:35 a.m. The location: the bathroom. It feels more aggressive – not dormant as the manual states are what should be happening.’

                                    *********

‘Record and ready to engage. This is ED500, the time 6 a.m., the date is 12/04/2025, location: bathroom. Two feedamile tablets taken. Weight: stable. This is attempt 8.’

 I close my eyes and open them. I see an ashen me spiralling further and further away as the powder compact mirror is whacked out from my hands. I can’t see my reflection, so I start furiously tapping on my collarbone, urging it to jut out that bit more. Gristle grinds against gristle. My knees knock together repeatedly: agonisingly tender from the friction. It takes more pain to make me feel. I can hold my head up that little bit higher.

 A surge of power brushes a justified half -smile up my cheek, as they wheel me out of the ambulance and into ‘the starch whites’ base. I peer into my old inpatient room with its rosy shaded walls. The ‘starch whites’ are preparing for that time again. The battle with them every meal time.  Their lips are moving but I can’t hear them.

My eyes veer to the sight of my legs- splayed wide on the bed. In between my legs, reveals the man’s body, which seemingly hustles in time to some primal, instinctive beat. His tongue flicks in and out of my moist swelling vulva. My inner thighs quiver. Combined sweat drips collecting evidence of our lust. The flicking escalates in speed. My chest rises and falls in breathy rhythm.

I open my eyes and he is gone! Another trick!   On demand it projectile vomits grotesque abstractions out of drink supplements and gourmet food; flung and hung pretentiously along the walls of that room. Cups, plates, knives are thrown about. It takes three of them to get that tube down me. Three!

                        ********

‘Record. This is ED500; it is 2 a.m., the 13/04/2025 Location: my bedroom. There is an almighty sound of bells clanking. I am trying to do the breathing exercises from the prescription manual app but my eyes won’t register the letters.’

 The contained puddle of letters on the screen splatter as my tablet falls to the floor. The memory is too potent. My back arched involuntarily, my eyes will not open fully. Seizing up, they flicker upwards into the half-moon gloom of my eyelids. DING- A LING! A bell rings. Saliva sloshes down the sides of my chin. My back is set against a cool wall; I look up and around and find myself in an unidentified location. The walls, the flooring- everything is a shade of white. ‘The starch whites’ hover around the location in an aura of purity. I fiddle with my zip jean and pull down my T-shirt as I try to cover a mound of excess flesh. I join the procession of the group gathered around the bell ringer.

The wait commences. A stomach grunts hoggishly. Mine. My eyes sweep across the group hoping no one has heard it. In total, there are fifty of my kind. We all have the same scraggy arms and legs and distended stomach. We do not queue politely, but circle around the bell ringer like a pack, collectively growling, from the pit of our stomach, slavering: ready to attack. It does not do political correctness. It does not like conformity. Nobody wants to look too eager. It is part of the game. Parlour Tricks.

One involuntary twitch in the ringer’s direction and the game is lost. The bell rings again. I look up, it is him. He winks at me. It rages from him seeing me ready to engage in combat in the ‘labyrinth of edibles’. It gains so much power in numbers.  Deafening whispers ripple around the group. Those that cover their mouths with their hands only heighten the grand faux pas of my behaviour. The smirking turns to vaporous laughter. I watch that retro version of myself, head bowed, arms folded, shoulders hunched, walk alone and into hostile territory- a vulnerable outsider for betraying it

‘The time is 3 am, location: my bedroom. Urgent memo! I should be having more control over my flashbacks not less. ED500 needs to make contact’

                                                            *******

‘Record and ready to engage. This is ED500, the time 6 a.m., the date is 13/05/2025, location: bathroom. Two feedamile tablets consumed. Weight 0.2 grams more than 13/04/2025.’

 I close my eyes and when I open them, I am naked and in what appears to be a floor to ceiling mirrored dressing room. Reflecting back in every mirror is us! The man stands behind me- pulling me in every direction. Every angle stabs at my eyes, repeatedly. One stab- that’s me! Another stab –no, that’s me! What am I looking at? An arm. The shards of deceptive flesh wound my eyeballs. An almighty shriek surrenders from my lungs; I see a pair of hands reach up to cover my eyes. Is this real? I grab an arm and pinch it, hard. The skin feels dimpled, not in that artistic stippled kind of way but in that bumpier cellulite fashion.

‘The time is 06:15 am Location: bathroom. I feel out of control, I repeat I feel out of control. Urgent contact needs to be made.’

                                                *********************

Dr Owle presses the pause button.

‘You have stuck rigorously to the manual?’ – I see that flashback projected onto a wall- paused and very much in control.

‘Well, of course.’ I blather, ‘That’s why I signed myself up for this whole spectacle. You told me that I would be able to control the memory and the sensory triggers. I can’t just flick the pause button on like you’ve just done’

‘The results when adhered to correctly have shown a 100 % success rate. Today is the final attempt. Are you still willing to engage voluntarily? ‘He looks in my direction. I nod sagely.

‘Record and ready to engage. This is ED500, the time is 09:00 a.m., the date is the 13/06/2025, location: Professor Owle’s office, two feedamile tablets consumed at 6:00 am this morning. My weight is 0.3 grams heavier than 13/05/2025.’

 Final attempt. I close my eyes and open them.  Astonished, I see a pair of muscular legs, a toned stomach adorned by a hint of hipbone. My wrists have a nodule of bone on each side, giving it a certain elegance. There is a fleeting recognition of this body. A fragmented puzzle of reflections pulls together as natural as gravity. The magnetic pull, reassures, in the way that waking up before landing in a fall-dream- reassures. In the mirror reflection, I see him. A bolt of nerves implode in my brain, splintered nerves carve furiously.

A voice.

‘What do you see?’ It’s the Owls-no, the professor’s voice: the professor is an owl?  My mind steeps in ambiguity.

Then an almighty pressure forces my head to drop back from the weight of it. My hands instinctively go to touch the intruding protrusion. I catch sight of my reflection in the orange oblong mirror. My head is malformed. I look like some freak, like some helpless victim with radiation side effects from some way out, an imaginary town in Chernobyl. Grievous puss amalgamated to create a massive abscess.

‘I’m disfigured’, I scream. I feel his presence in the room as he moves closer to my puss-filled growth. Stretched, overcooked, fibrous skin. Heated puss bubbles away inside. He holds my head up.

 ‘It’s the man. I don’t know what he is going to do. He has something in his hand.  He is going to kill me.’

Tortured screams echo around the space.  Another voice penetrates through the pain.  

‘Have you seen him before? Look properly. ’ it is Professor Owle.

‘No, I can’t bear to look . I’m repulsive!’

‘Don’t give up. Open your eyes and look in the mirror, tell me what you see.’

‘Something has gone wrong. I’ve consumed too much. The experiment has failed.’ I weep.

‘This is professor Owle. Tell me what you see!’ he orders.

‘Tell him my name’ the man urges, his dreadlocks shake off a familiar laugh.

He wants me to name him.’ I howl in pain, ‘He’s jabbed a needle into me!  He has jabbed a needle in my head. He is extracting the puss. It wants more power. I will not name it. Never!  The truth is what I‘ve believed from the start. You give it a name and it automatically assumes power’, I scream.

‘Look at me. Please!’ the dreadlocked man implores.

SLAM!  A car skids unlawfully across the black ice.

‘Who are you, what do you want?’ a tone of hysteria.

BANG! Car tyres leave vicious tracks marks on a deer.

‘Are there any letters forming in your mind? The professor inquires.

CRASH! A body smashes through the windscreen.

‘Yes, but I’m too afraid to let them form. Abort the experiment please, Professor.’

 The body lands with a nondescript THUMP. Blood marinades the icy snow.

‘You need to fight it.’, Professor Owle cajoles me.

My eyes burst open like a ruptured pea pod. I look into the mirror and this is what I see. It is me –a hysterical woman with savage hair, screaming in despair I take both my hands and scrape my fingernails down both sides of my face. My grey slate- coloured eyes, dilated, search with hope. The man’s hand goes to brush away the tears trickling done my face. My hand goes up frantically trying to scratch away at the face etched with wretched wrinkles.

‘It is an older me. The growth has gone.’ Fearfully I take in the rest of my body. Again, I see reflected the same pair of muscular legs, a toned stomach adorned by a hint of hipbone. My wrists have a nodule of bone on each side- Holy shit, how can this be? This reflection is the missing piece to a surprising feeling of unity. I look over to him– he smiles. I look into his eyes- all I can see is admiration. 

‘It’s me! Not perfect-far from it. But it is me!’ The man leans in to kiss my neck then his reflection turns around and leaves the room.

‘Very good, now carry on –what is the man saying? Interjects the Professor.

‘Professor, he has gone. ’, I turn away and around from the mirror to make sure that the mirror has not deceived me.

‘Gone?’

 Gone. It’s me. Professor Owle. It’s me! It is Vesna. My name is Vesna Numeral’ I babble out.

‘Vesna? If this is Vesna tell me who the man is? Professor Owle enquires dubiously.

A wave knocks my emotions. I buckle. The reeds of guilt tangle around my legs pulling me down to my knees

‘Oh my God! No, it’s Raymond.’ I cry.

‘Bravo Vesna. Well done. You did it- you engaged until the very end. We can finally start the de-briefing process.’ The professor hugs me.

‘I’m recovered? ’ my tone incredulous. ‘All he tried to do was help me recover from it.

Yes, Vesna. It was an accident…’

‘I couldn’t control.’ I conclude.

‘We now work together to start the process to rehabilitate you back into society.’

‘My family. My friends.’ A medley of images calibrate in my mind. ‘I will never go backwards, never! I have to keep ticking forwards’

‘Life will have a purpose again,’ the professor smiles

 One year later and numbers still hold this world together. I can never completely get away from numbers. It might not possess me but it still haunts me every so often by catching me off- guard. These days a brief encounter with my reflection consistently reveals my broken half capped teeth and withered bones. These are the scars of my struggle. I remember the lesson Raymond tried to teach me. These days I tend to look into people’s eyes when I speak and I tend to listen more. It is so easy to get caught up in that negative internal chatter everyone has in them. These days in spite of my scars, I smile and look for that small break in the sky. My name is Vesna; and like a cloud that merges and transforms all too rapidly, I too refuse to be defined by it.

Be careful what you wish for

Another deadline has passed. I should get my marks back after the 12 th February. I haven’t had a chance to pause and I’m already drafting my 3rd TMA (due 30th March).

For those interested in the conclusion to my dalliance in the supernatural genre, it starts where it is underlined.

BEHOLD!  This hopefully makes up for any let downs anyone reading this may have after reading the story. Thank you, Scott, @ The Order of the Dog/ Horace, and Winston Churchill, for inspiring the title of this story.

 THE ORDER OF THE BLACK DOG

My family. Here we all are, sitting around the circular dining room table- flecked with bits of gold. Ma sits under a hanging portrait of this Christmas just gone. Three weeks ago. We are all smiling in it including Poppy. Poppy sits playing with her Annabelle doll, on my husband’s lap. Sat opposite from Ma, closest to the electric fire hearth is Gran. I find myself sitting across from Gran. An iciness breathes mist over us. It separates me from them, cloaks me in a fog. I try to swallow. The air is so thick it chokes me, I’m forced to put my hands to my throat. Nobody notices me.  Nobody notices me the way they used to. I tune in to the conversation-taking place.

‘Of course I’m not suggesting this is your fault.  I should have known. Done more…’ Nan bursts into tears. A cry out for:

 I need attention I’m suffering the most.

My skin bristles. Nan pulls her scarf tighter around her neck, and then throws out a familiar comment about it being draughty.

‘You know I could catch pneumonia with my Asthma.’ She coughs. Ma gets up to put on the electric fire.

‘I didn’t take her seriously. You know what Angie was like?’  Ma’s eyes are red as the rosary beads she is thumbing; she looks over to an unusually quiet Poppy.

‘Did she just do it to spite me?’ How could she just leave her own…?’

 My husband throws a warning look at Ma,

‘Marie, for Poppies sake.  Our Angie suffered more than she let on.’ Ma sits back down. ‘Let’s put on a cartoon, luv?’  Poppy shakes her head.

 She doesn’t look at us.  I look straight at her, willing her to leave this table. Leave this conversation. She lifts her head and looks me dead on in the eyes. I instinctively smile. Eddie and me always stood together when it came to Poppy. Her face is pale, her eyes sunken, her skin is drawn in so tight I can see cheek bones protrude. Beneath her eyes-, veiled shadows betray her youthful face. She clings onto Annabelle, still looking me dead on in the eyes.

‘When’s Mummy coming home?’

 Silence. Her words enmesh with the silence. Her question disarms me. Marks me. The arrow leaves its bow splintering my heart. I open my mouth to scream out as many words as I can. Condensation steams the air distilling me into silence. I reach my hand across the table to grab hers. She doesn’t see me. I glare at my family sitting at the round table. They say nothing. Smothering themselves in sorrow, they witheringly curl inwards. I urge to shake them, uproot them from winters glaze.

-Answer her! Answer my daughter.

Instead, Gran succumbs to a puddle of wrinkled tears, mechanically Ma gets off her chair, attempts to console Gran and naturally it’s  up to Eddie to mediate.  My calm, rational Eddie. His eyes read as vacant –his beard is wild and unkempt.  It’s impossible to read his face. He clears his throat,

‘We’re gonna see Mummy when we give her… say a proper goodbye.’

Gran flounders in her anglers net of remorse.  Great splotchy splashes of grief escape. She wails,

‘She’s with the angels –looking down at you, darling!’

 I roll my eyes. Of course I love her!  Lately, she grates my skin more frequently with her, melodramatics.

– Confess how you truly feel. Relieved!

I’m so fixated on evoking a response from Gran; unnoticed, a light flickers with an intensity to match my own.  Eddie carries Poppy over to the sofa, sits her down to watch a cartoon. He covers her with a blanket then kisses her forehead.

‘We’ll see mummy soon? To say goodbye?’

 Eddie nods his head, his voice cracks.

‘Aye, love.’

‘When will mummy come back from saying goodbye? In spring? My teacher says it’s winter – everything goes to sleep like her?’ Poppy points to ‘Sleeping Beauty’ on the television.

 Eddie focuses on the image. The Prince is just about to kiss Aurora on the lips. He turns his head away from the television before he can see Aurora wake up to her true loves kiss. He grinds down on his teeth. Poppy’s eyes remain transfixed on the television. Eddie gets up, crosses the dining room table; I’m compelled to follow him, I have to stop him. Tell him I’m still here. I haven’t gone anywhere. I’ve so much to tell him.

 -There is no God! We were right all along. Religion is for people who can’t think for themselves.  We were right to take the piss.  

Eddie flinches, puts his hands in his jean pockets. I follow him down Ma’s hallway and into the bathroom. He closes the door on me. It doesn’t ever close fully. I slip through the crack of the door that is always ajar.

 Head down. Still. He sits on the toilet seat.  I kneel down before him; go to lay my head on his knee. He flinches again. Hits himself in the head. Bangs his fist on the wall screams out:

‘Why? We could’ve figured it out, you fucking stubborn mare’ I bring out the best and worst in Eddie. Till death do us part. What are the chances?

He still refuses to let me go. Stubborn.

My symptoms intensify in the days leading up to the funeral. Everything‘s heightened especially emotions that seemingly walk precariously on stilts.  I can’t walk through walls or levitate. Nothing like any of the horrors Eddie and me used to watch together, on the sofa. 

Unheard, I bellow continuously,

-Just let me go!

 Every time I hear my name called reflections of nostalgia flash and beam over and around me. Prompted, I gravitate towards the source. Someone needs me.  These past three weeks, I’ve been teleported from one conversation to another. I find myself in a room; familiar or not familiar, with people I know and people I don’t know.

Today I’m summoned to the usual bickering between Ma and Gran. The familiar sound of Gran’s kettle boils in the background.

‘I want that picture of her on her graduation day and flowers- blown up .With azaleas. And roses – she loved roses- pink.’  

‘She hates that picture! And she loves- loved yellow roses…’ Ma’s wobbly voice mirrors her jelly struck legs propping her up in her work shoes. She staggers backwards. Like the black dog with a bone, Gran won’t give in,

‘No, she’s my eldest grand daughter and I know her – it is… was pink!’

 Ma sits down, doesn’t speak. I go over to her to put my arms around her then she dissolves into tears. Gran bulldozes her way over to us. Intimidated, I move out of her way. Gran holds Ma and Ma lets Gran hug her. Ma calms down, mentions something about pink and yellow roses

Vexed, I shriek

 – don’t back down Ma, I love yellow. Yellow roses. The kettle whistles for attention. My voice is lost to an object.

‘I’ll go make that cup of tea’ Nan retreats to her kitchen.

Another opportunity to get close to Ma again.   I need to hug her, give her some of my energy. As if on cue, Mum’s tear-stained face crumples just like my heart. A poking hot iron burns a hole right through it. Gran re-enters the room I scarper.

‘Here you go, love. Lost three of my own …, as you know, mind, they never got to Angie’s age. Yellow’s more of a quirky colour like our Angie… was.’     They smile at each other. I move back, the distance seems to illuminate their smiles.

Tonight, I beg for there to be a heaven. This has to be hell. The familiar, incongruous, gravitational pull lures me out of my cavernous abyss. I blink my eyes several times to focus: orientate myself. Hung up around the wall are vintage Disney posters. My eyes settle on Poppies bed. Eddie bends over Poppy and kisses her goodnight,

‘Mummy loves you just as much as I do.’ He tucks her in.

He switches off the light before walking out. I stand and watch my worn out daughter in her bed. She sings herself to sleep just as she does every night. She sings our song:  twinkle twinkle little star. With each inflection of her sweet singing voice, the words serve as a needle. Each word stipulates smelting hot ink into my flesh. My neck is ablaze.  Before closing her eyes, she whispers,

 ‘I love you mummy.’

When I reply, scorching chains wrap and lasso me around my neck. My skin swells up in blisters. The familiar sound of her breathing evaporates the pain.  I need to be close to her, I need to smell her, kiss her. Carelessly, I run over to her bed to touch her sleeping head. Startled I lunge backward as Poppy instantly wakes up screaming.

– I’m powerless

. Eddie barges into the room, throws on the light and takes Poppy into his arms. I watch her body stiffen; then relax. I watch him settle my daughter back to sleep. My hands ball into tight fists.

-She must know I’m here.

Before I can touch her face, she wakes up screaming like – like she has seen a- ghost.

-I’m that Ghost! I put my hands to my mouth in horror.

 Envy bubbles inside me as I witness Eddie consoling Poppy again. I’m half hoping he won’t succeed.

What kind of a mother am I?

I’ve been telling everyone to let me go.

Where will I go?

I can’t drive, no one can see me. There are no other lost souls wondering about telling me to join the dead community!

I won’t give up on my daughter. She needs me. I have to be here.

 The stroke of our clock announces its time; a primitive realisation slithers down my very core. Nausea spirals up into my throat. I run into our bathroom, heave over the toilet, nothing comes out. I catch sight of my reflection in the mirror; I see vicious V-shaped welts where the noose of the rope has cut into my neck. This is what Eddie came home to.

The cloying black dog of depression haunted me. Its delivered dose of pain was exquisite- nothing took it away. Not drinking, overdosing, drugging myself, talking-nothing. Eventually, I told it to sit down.  I told Eddie repeatedly,

– I just want to disappear.

– How can I help you?  His eyes pleaded for an answer.  I would always lash out,

-Unless you help me disappear, you can’t!

 I remained imprisoned in our bed and he would go back to work and look after Poppy and the house. He could walk away from me. I couldn’t. I resent him for that. I can see myself now, googling the various ways people commit suicide. One article struck my eye ‘Men are more successful at committing suicide’.

  -They don’t mess about with poisoning themselves –they resort to more violent means.

That is the moment I reached out to the wrong Alpha.

The black dog and I began sleeping together. It became my obsession. Up-close, I could analyse it, experiment with it. As a couple, it didn’t take much to find that Alpha rage. One phone call from Ma,

-Just snap out of it. If you’re going to do it, get on with it.

-Fine, I will!  I hung up on her before she could hang up on me.

My impulsiveness finds me trapped within this mirror. It’s cold. Everything I read is back to front. Everything I do is back to front.  It doesn’t reflect my true intentions. When I reach out, in fact, the more I reach out the more pain I inflict. I back away from the mirror until I’m pressed up, with my back against the bathroom wall.

 What have I done? 

 What right do I have trying to tell my family how to deal with their loss?

Eddie will never know that I was messing about; I didn’t know if I could actually go through with it. From a great height in a corner of the bathroom my body feels cut loose from itself. I can see it happen in front of my eyes. Like a rerun episode, I can’t pause. The noose around my neck, in the shower. Steam shrouds the mirror, with slippery feet, I accidently knock myself off that chair and in that moment I realise,

– I don’t want to die.

I can’t scream and tell anyone. I made the decision when I decided to sleep with my enemy. I’ve interrupted the natural course of life. A lost soul in life: a lost soul in death. There are no bright lights to come with this epiphany. I exit the bathroom, stumble down the staircase, out the front door, and walk aimlessly down the street. I sense a familiar pair of eyes examining me; I look up and see the black dog in its true form. It waits for me to catch up.  We walk side by side. I don’t look back.  I am the one preventing people from moving on. I have to let go.

I won’t go into the commentary in this post. I think my reference and citations pages came up to about 15 pages!  Which is nuts!

My next TMA  is about a highly gifted and beautiful girl who plays the classical piano. She is also being groomed by her manager/lover to be a super model. She is adored by her fans around the world. Her biggest wish is to beable to have sight.

The scene begins with Eve playing a melancholic piece of music and a seemingly lovely old lady offers to exchange her sight for Eve’s essence.  The whole script ends in tragedy. Eve soon finds out why people are attracted to her. She can now see the world with eyes and she loses touch with her other senses. People hate that she can see them. They feel exposed, judged.

What makes Eve so special and endearing to people is her lack of sight. She is unable to see the world the way people with sight do.  It is a horrible world we live in, isn’t it?  Oddly enough, I’m inspired by Shakespeare – the play has a somewhat midsummer nights /fantastical dream-like feel to it – the main theme focuses on human conditions and relationships. Something Shakespeare flaunted well.

Guess who becomes the new darling of the music world?  The rest is still being written in my head. It only has to be 18 minutes and then it’s back to the homeless piece.

 It is a horrible world we live in, isn’t it?

download-1

Oddly enough, I’m inspired by Shakespeare – the play has a somewhat midsummer’s night /fantastical dream-like feel to it – the main theme focuses on the human condition and relationships. Something Shakespeare flaunted well.

I’m catching up on blogs. I am missing you all so much.

DAISY XOXO

I will leave you with the words of the inimitable Charles Bukowski. He wasn’t a misogynist! 

 

 

Number one

This was the first piece of  fictional writing I ever wrote. It was also graded and then I had to adapt it into a different genre – here it is :

 ‘Miss Sainte!’ the travel consultant’s hands twitch like a bees feelers, ‘let me get your tickets for London.’ and she is off. I’ve always found it amusing how people assume that your life is more exciting than theirs. My life had taken on the acrid taste of bourbon. Hard decisions require liquor. There I was bobbing up and down like a buoy in a sea of bitter. Disconnected from all sources of life. Waves of nausea threatened to bury me, deep, in an unrefined grave. This was my existence until I sobered up.

The hairs on my arms prick up like ears on stalks, straining to confirm what they’ve heard. Shivers rush down my spine. Impulsively my hand goes to feel the smooth outline of the documents in my handbag, confirming that the surgery will go ahead. I look up from the tropical brochure and nearly fall head first into a pair of dung coloured eyes. She’s that close. I quickly murmur my thanks and bolt out the door, the wind slamming the door for me

My life tends to go from one oblivious moment to the next. One ginger bastard is all it takes for the state of my jagged ignorance to be shattered. Now all I can see is my former ignorance smirking everywhere. All of a sudden its: Ginger beer, Ginger bread, Ginger cats, Ginger biscuits, Ginger nuts, Ginger pubes, Ginger! Ginger! Everywhere! I’ve reasoned that it’s not too avaricious to want more than ‘current-girlfriend’ status. Why would a heathen (his -word) such as myself, all tits hanging loose, wild hair and barefoot, want certainty and commitment? Why indeed?! Every time it’s the same watery twaddle:

 ‘I’m a married man… A Catholic!’ –with a bellyful of 24 hour bargain booze. It’s all driftwood. I’m Odyssey’s ‘Scylla ‘or ‘Charybdis’. If he wants to treat me as a necessary evil then instinctively I will lure him to my grotto and devour him.  Men have this habit of changing anything they see as mystifying into the female form.

                                                            *

Yesterday his spinal support kicked in and he decides to call me. It went something like this:

‘Babe, things are … complicated. I’m here for you.’ he said.

Then, that familiar feeling, the tightening jerk on my voice chords, taut like a gymnast’s rope. Panic. The struggle to gulp in air. My throat is blitzed with grainy, arid sand. The beat. The beat in my heart starts clanging cacophonously and belches up into my throat. My instincts are shrill. Screeching: Caution! Do Not Proceed. This is what his voice does to me.

‘Babe, we’ve been through so much?’ Smelly feet. All I can smell is pongy feet; His feet! I’d rather go collecting cacti with my teeth than screw you. Yerr screw: That’s what I should have said.

‘I’m on my way.’ C’mon you don’t wanna be loved? So instead he gets his way and I’m running like an Olympic sprinter to get to my car.

There I am sitting in the car about to gear it up. Panic. With my palms I start slamming the steering wheel. You stupid bitch. SLAM! Greedy stupid bitch.  SLAM!  Blasted tears form. I look into the rear-view mirror  and with a finger nail, I press down hard, scraping my cheek- only satisfied when I see the offensive, black line of soggy mascara tarnishing  it .Ugly Bitch! I pound the rear view mirror-over and over.

                                                                        *

I can feel the gamut of my emotions and thoughts losing form. So fragile. One knock. One tiny crack is all it takes. When he opens the door all the innards of my mind start to scramble.

‘Neck this’, he says. He plays his part well. He picks me up like I’m a delicate fawn and gently lowers me onto his sofa. He waves a bag of coke in front of my face. My fucking dopamine receptors are giving you a standing ovation, mate! Trust an ex-army cadet to bring out the Bolivian marching powder. Several hours later, we’re both wading deep in over consumption. Billie Holliday is playing, her voice becomes the beat in my heart.

‘Love. Love her voice… so raw….so pure…but damaged like… Know what I mean?’

He just sits there, shakes his head mindlessly, not even one cobweb is disturbed. Great bulging eyes leer out at me. I might as well have a pair of fucking rabbit ears and a hat on with electrodes attached to my head.  One eye hanging precariously out of its socket. It is torture what he does to me. I want to scream: Why do you look at my pain? Consider it. Consider me! And then decide this bitch needs sterilizing?

He’s suddenly up and real close. His odour arrests my breath, it’s like taking in a whiff of a Parisian fish market at the end of a hot rough day. The hairs stand up on my body betraying my true feelings. Then he demands me to laugh.

‘Laugh. ‘He roars. Followed by frenzied laughter – Shit what’s he gonna do? He’s just laughing. Standing over me and laughing at me. Kick him in the gonads, quick!  He stops. Breathe. He moves up close again, our faces touching.

‘Boo! He whispers, slapping his hands together with glee, he grabs my arse –roughly. I’m smiling. My mind severs itself form my body. It too plays its part well. He then begins to undo his jeans.

                                                              *

A bloated smiling face. The receptionist takes my documents. The ballooned smiling face points us in the direction of the waiting area.

‘Whoa!  They must have known we were arriving, all the chairs are set up, ready for a blessed sermon. Wanna do the honours?’ What am I saying? I watch his fat turnip- shaped face go red. Blood red. He is simmering away like a stew but someone forgot to put the meat in. Jesus why the hell did I agree to this? The walls expand and shrink like I’m sucking on a plastic bag.  Panic. I’m in Plato’s allegorical cave. His shadow torments me, I’m convinced that Mother Nature has given him rights over oxygen.

            ‘Hope Sainte?’ a nurse’s voice booms. Jumped up like a leap frog. Crap joke but I got spooked. The nurse looks up at me, she raises her eyebrows which make her glasses slant downwards. He heaves his body upwards. I feel his skulking bristling my nerves. The Nurse ushers me into a cubicle.

‘Change into this then hop on a bed’ she gestures to a bed. I touch the blue gown and put my fingers to my nose. Tainted, I gag. How can I put it? It’s like, I’m inhaling water. Panic has dropped her anchor.

 Lying horizontally I turn my head to the left and I look up into a pair of nostrils. It’s the Surgeon. His lips are moving like that singing bass fish that was all the rage in the nineties. I can’t hear jack shit- the porter wheels me into theatre.

                                                            *

 I open my eyes.  I exhale, the cubicle expands. He enters, drops his head. Doesn’t even bother to look at me. He stands in a corner and folds his arms He just stands in that corner reminding me of a scare crow. All stiff and glacial. Hours slither by, the silence hissing mercilessly. A hug. I want a hug. The silence is pierced. It’s me. I’m screaming. Little critters are scratching away at my insides. The attack is stabbing and sharp. The pain throbs with intent. Panic.

‘What the hell is happening?’ I look over and he’s fiddling with his fucking phone like he’s re-arranging his balls. Strap on cock-face! He turns around to face me. Did I say that out loud? He looks demonical enough.

‘Erm… well derr!’ He slaps my forehead, ‘you’re giving birth to our baby! Look at the state of ya!’ I follow his eyes. They settle on my well-formed bump.

‘You stupid murdering bitch!’ He then spits in my face and turns to leave.

‘Hey, where’re you going- we agreed on this?’ Panic. There’s more screaming.

‘Why? Why? Why?’ Each “why” growing in expectation and volume. Sobbing, through my tears I can just about make out a figure of the porter. Everything starts to slow down. No. Retardation is setting in, slowing me down. Panic. The surgeon appears again. It’s like I’m in a macabre pantomime

‘Now, please, count backward from ten, please.’ he smiles down at me.

‘I can hear you!’ I dribble out. The surgeon smiles and nods his head like one of those Chinese paw-waving cats.

‘Hey! Listen can you hear that?’ they’re playing music!  What kind of sick set up is this? Beethoven’s, ‘Moonlight sonata’ is playing in the background. I touch it. The bump. I’m pretty sure this has got to breech my human rights.

A voice punctuates the air. It’s mine.

‘Number one. Gotta look after number one!’ That’s what my Mum always used to say… “If ya can’t put yourself first, you’ll never be able to put ya child first .From now on I swear it. I’ll make each moment in my life count! Maybe one day I will be worthy being called a mum….sorry.’

My eyes close, a tear rolls down my cheek as I’m wheeled into theatre.

What are your views on Abortion ?

2016 Copyright Natasha Bodley daisyinthewillows.wordpress.com

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MA PETIT FRIPON.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, GRAN ❤

81 years today. I should be excited to spend the the day with you. Your twin sons have come all the way from Miami for your big day. You eldest son has flown from France to be with you. Yet, I am dreading going to see you today. How fucking pessimistic is that? I think I am being driven mad by the sagging colourless beat in my heart. The fact is one person will be missing. I don’t try and think of her and I don’t really feel like she is not around anymore. Well, she is. Somewhere. Her energetic atoms of laughter bursting in another part of the universe.

My Aunt. My friend. The funniest person I know. The person who idolised me ,partied with me and didn’t put up with my shit,She left for Costa Rica to go and work  just after the new year in 2014.

She was okay. Fit and healthy. Something happened in Costa Rica. She suddenly found it hard to walk far distances without losing her breathe. It got so bad that over  a 5 month period she was walking around with a portable oxygen machine like it was a brief case filled with illegal  Krugerrand coins or something.

OFF ON ANOTHER ADVENTURE
OFF ON ANOTHER ADVENTURE

What happened? She came back to the U.K. in December 2104. She couldn’t breathe without the oxygen machine. Imagine 24 hours 7 not being able to breathe without support?

My Tati ( French for aunt) was one of the free spirits of the world, the revolutionary thinker, the person who lived life with a brimming  heart and a sublime curiosity. She loved people. . She didn’t need material  trappings and a gifted life (although she had that kind of life at staggered moments ) . She lived and breathed in all cultures of the  countries she visited  and there is not one person I know who has a bad word to say about her. Living and in her death.

In December 2014 she was admitted for tests in Costa Rica. My twin uncles flew out immediately to see her and pay the extortionate  fees to see a doctor.The doctor diagnosed her with  COPD. The doctors in the U.K. didn’t agree and ran tests for over 2 months while my Aunt stayed in hospital.. My aunt went through agonising procedures where the doctors opened a hole at the side of her ribs so they could drain the fluid in her lungs. She could hear it every time she breathed. The water swilling  and swishing ,with each rasping breath. The worst part of this procedure was when they had to dry the lungs out. They made another hole in the other side of her body and inserted talcum powder into her lungs. She was morphed up to the max and she cried  furiously. She was so brave. She survived so many obstacles in her life . She was a tortured spirit but she used her pain to live and to make people laugh. That phone call I received at 6 am fro my Mom on the 22/02 to tell me something was wrong with my Aunt was so delusory. I went on autopilot. I sped to my Mom’s house and I saw the paramedics bringing my ant down. Her pulse was something like 16. Her head was all dipped in low. Resting on her chin. Her pallor was grey. Yeah, Just grey.

My Mom and me made the joint  the decision to let her die a natural death. No prolonging her pain and tugging back  the leash attaching her to this world. No life support machines but natural death. We sang to her  loved her , hugged her, kissed her, cried waterfalls of tears of having to witness and being forced to watch death wrap its hands around her neck  and rattle the life out of her. We could not deny reality. My cousin – her daughter in living in the U.K. arrived at the hospital just as Tati took her last breathe. My cuz like her Mom is a brave woman and a true fighter. Cancer: we all have been affected by it or know someone who has been tainted with it.

So what has this all  got to do with my beautiful gran’s birthday?

My beautiful Gran.
My beautiful Gran.

Gran as you may already know lives in a care home and in the last two years has gone from this – what caused this? Dementia and Alzheimer’s. I find it unpalatable that my aunt won’t be with us to celebrate another year of watching my Gran live in a world of complex understanding -far beyond the comprehension  of  a ‘normal’  human beings reality.

2 years later
2 years later

I find the thought of celebrating life in a place where people are sent to die -depressing and almost pointless. Of course it will be wonderful to see the other residents happy and welcoming a change from their monotonous existence. I’m not that fucken morbid.

I’m also disappointed.. I’m disappointed  that my twin uncles never made it to their sister’s funeral. The reason?  they were on standby in the hope they would get an upgrade to 1st/business class. I thought I had dealt with this but I guess I haven’t, and for the first time I have totally distanced myself from them. I haven’t made a big fuss.. I’m not as excited as I usually would be.I worshiped them most of my life. I’m disappointed. Isn’t that tragic? I know they are only human and they wanted to be at the funeral but why did they let their own wants get in the way of something so significant . We are or  were a close family..

I still love them of course I just don’t share the enthusiasm like I usually do. My fab and successful  uncles. the comedy duo act. 

So happy birthday Gran. You have most of your children around you. You don’t even know your daughter and other son are dead. I will put my mask on and make sure I can catch that spark and glint in your eyes as much as possible. That mischievous twinkle that I miss so much. Why is it that the thing I miss the most from my Gran and Aunt are their laughs?  I will never hear them laugh again. I will never feel that shared side splitting aching laugh . I will never laugh again about the time I got so drunk at a get together do in Barcelona that my aunt ended up hitting me over the head with a shoe for being too arrogant. I will never sit in a airplane again with my Gran and be in hysterics with my gran  over the man seated opposite us and labelled ‘ Le peteses’ French for the smelly farter72619_4898181606408_398661756_n

thanksgiving
thanksgiving