I used to write, usually when I felt a trifle melancholy or sad or nostalgic or angry or …
I was ashamed of it. Or embarrassed. Or maybe I just wasn’t even ready to share it with the virtual world in which I anonymously resided, so I hid it elsewhere online and made surreptitious comments about it occasionally and quietly. But with this page I’m finally coming-out. Some of it is raw, much of it is cringeworthy, but it’s me, up close and personal, warts and all. And I’m putting it here.
I don’t want to be so anonymous now; I just want to be a little teeny bit anonymous.
So KatieF regulars, allow me to introduce you to Miss Europa …
There’s a little girl in my head.
She makes daisy-chains which will eventually wither and die. She runs through hay-fields, screaming with delight, until she’s out of breath and it’s time to go home for tea. She plays board games with her siblings and can only dream of beating them. She likes to don long party dresses and wear her hair fancy.
She’s an extrovert, a chatterbox.
But she’s confused. Things have happened and they don’t feel right. They feel very wrong. Things that make her have feelings she doesn’t understand, and thoughts that should be far from the mind of an eight year old.
And so the little girl in my head becomes increasingly introverted, shy, and withdrawn. She bottles her emotions and memories up
(“It’s perfectly fine to say how you’re feeling, Katie”)
until they’re so deeply buried inside that they cease to exist. And once they cease to exist she can pretend that they never happened. If they never happened then she never has to tell anybody about them. And everybody in her life can live happily, blissfully ignorant of any wrongdoing. The little girl can live happily.
There’s a little girl in my head.
She’s created a jigsaw puzzle in my mind and, through flashes of long-distant memory, she’s filling in more gaps. As more pieces fit the puzzle so the little girl is edging me nearer to the truth. I want to fight this: I don’t need to know the truth. I want to be blissfully ignorant. I don’t like jigsaw puzzles!
When the puzzle is complete, who will I turn to? Who can you turn to when the only people you trust will be the people whose hearts you break?
Sometimes I wish she’d go away and leave me alone,
the little girl in my head.
Memoirs: Domestic Violence (2007)
The older I get the more I think about the goodness that existed in that short four year relationship. The more I think about the goodness the less I think about the badness. The less I think about the badness the more I think about how much I loved him. The more I think about how much I loved him the less I can remember about the badness.
I remember the smoothness of his skin, the quirky eyelash that was so sexy, the abundance of tattoo’s covering his upper arms. I remember I liked to trace the outlines of the Grim Reaper and various skulls.
“Why do you need friends when you have me?”
He was the picture of perfection: attractive, smart, funny, popular. One look from his cool blue eyes could reveal such love, such tenderness.
“You’re late. What’s his name?”
The sex was amazing.
“I’m sorry, I’m so sorry. Your poor lip. Does it hurt?”
Together we laughed at Round the Twist, whilst frolicking noisily on a single bed, his family eating a Sunday roast below us.
He did love me.
“Why would anyone else ever fall in love with you?”
He cooked for me.
“Tell your mum not to ring you again.”
He held me.
“So, um, last night. Did I ? Like, did I hit you?”
He hurt me.
I gained the strength to end the relationship.
“I love you. Please let me stay. I’m so sorry. Please?”
And now I’m the one left feeling guilty for leaving him on a train, sobbing like a baby.
And that hurts.
And I just might tell you tonight that I love you (2007)
Never took piano lessons
But baby you are grand
And I would learn to play the good notes
And tune you up the best I can
She shook her head ferociously, blinking back tears that weren’t even threatening to fall. He didn’t have to know. He didn’t need to know. As she slipped out of gaudy stiletto’s, and let her tired feet feel the smooth coolness of the concrete, she sighed deeply. Taking another drag of her cigarette, and with shoes hanging limply from one hand, she walked to where she wanted to go.
Which was nowhere.
And he never did find out.
i have a love/hate relationship with you (2007)
sometimes i feel as though i could hate you. when you pester me in my dreams, pop into my head at the most inopportune moment, disappear from my life only to reappear when i don’t actually need you. those times when you offer me a glimpse of the real you, only to snatch it back with rigour when you get bored with me.
and perhaps the reasons that i could love you are exactly the same. i just wish i didn’t think about you every single bloody day.
i would like you to remain a figment of my imagination.
The Real World (2006)
It shouldn’t bother you, but it does.
You crave for people to leave you alone and yet you crave for attention. You crave for everybody to actually like you, despite claiming that you couldn’t care less.
She left you alone. You know that she’s still around because you see her, nattering away to others. But she simply ignores you even when you try to make contact, catch her eye, act endearing, deeply seething inside.
And you don’t know what you’ve done.
But there’s still a part of you that couldn’t care less and you have to hold onto that, hard, to stop caring so much.
In the Real World she doesn’t exist.
Everybody Knows You Cried Last Night (2006)
Her life was nothing more than a re-run of nightmares and not-so subtle pangs of panic.
She dreamt that everything went up shit creek, that places that should have been wonderful weren’t, and objects that should have been beautiful were more wrong than real.
So she banged her head with the flat palm of her hand.
Which helped not a bit, just as she knew it wouldn’t.
When her hair naturally curls it makes her feel whimsical.
baby, come dance with me (2006)
i would like to have breakfast with you.
following a night of intimate entanglement on fresh white sheets.
a single brown gerbera sitting prettily in a milk bottle.
the gentle sea breeze playfully caressing the curtains at the open window.
sid vicious gazing down upon the scene, a faint smirk of gentle humour on his black and white glossy face.
pachelbel lingering in our ears.
a car hooting its horn.
later we might walk along the promenade.
run barefoot from flirtatious waves.
lie giggling on the october sand.
watch the world go by.
i would just like to have breakfast with you.
Nothing to see (2006)
Who do you tell, when the only people you can tell will be the people whose lives you’ll ruin?
our secret (2005)
it was dark in there. a damp church-like copse in the middle of a hay-field.
i dared you.
one second sun, the next second a deep darkness.
our eyes adjusted to the gloom.
a forbidden gloom.
once inside all that mattered was the dense undergrowth, the torn up pornographic pictures down the long-forgotten well, and the snaps of little twigs as small creatures scampered away.
our bikes lay, wheels still spinning, in the sunlight.
as good as it gets (2005)
i’ve learnt that this is as good as it gets. and it can only be what i attempt to make it. so, as good as it gets is my own doing.
i’ve learnt that i can listen to cheesy songs. there’s no man pointing a gun at my head proclaiming in a loud cruel tone, no! leave take that where they belong!. liking something that is outside my own normal boundaries isn’t bad. it’s good. it’s accepting. it’s nothing to feel ashamed of. i don’t have to hide it anymore.
i’ve learnt that i can make a difference to the world. i can make a difference every single day. it’s in the words of encouragement, the smiles at strangers, the words i write, the noises i make, the inspiration i give.
i’ve learnt that i am capable of being loved unconditionally. i see it every single day in her big green eyes.
i’ve learnt that you can only take an innocent outlook so far. and then you have to show the world what a bitch you are.
i’ve learnt that to follow in your footsteps isn’t necessarily a good thing. to create my own path in life is much more satisfying. agreeing with everything you utter just gets a tad boring at the end of the day. not just for me, not just for you, but for everybody.
uniqueness is good.
we are all unique.
therefore we are all good.
i’ve learnt that sometimes i let my mouth do too much talking. and it talks nonsense.
[I’m Not Nice] (2005)
You go on about how you want to be this top-notch tickety-boo ever-so fandangly writer. You talk about your love of the English grammar and your expertise in it, just because you have some damn silly qualification that means zilch, because you got it when you were some little mess of a punk-goth girl aged sweet sixteen.
You make me garble out my words and forget to breathe.
You do realise that your words are shite? Surely, somewhere deep within your soul, there resides some snippet of common-sense that occasionally likes to bash you on the head with a heavy mallet?
No? Think carefully. There’s a possibility that you may be mistaking the truth for low self-esteem.
The misconception is that you can write. You can’t.
I want to tell you this. I want to tell you that you have no style, no uniqueness, no ability to capture the imagination of other folk. I want to tell you that it’s been done too many times before, in too many forms.
You have nothing special to offer the world.
Your meticulous planning makes your words lose the fresh appeal that they need in order to embrace imaginations. You think too much. Where’s the heart, the soul, the gut-wrenching emotion that can make your words great?
Who the fuck told you that you could write?
I won’t tell you that you can’t write. I won’t tell you that your ideas are old and boring, your narration cold and static. But one day I will be there to watch you fall flat on your face, to see the heat rise in your cheeks and the tears form in your eyes.
And I shall giggle.
Because there’s very little that I detest more than pretentious people.
And you are pretentious.
[And I’m Not Nice]
[Don’t Judge Me] (2005)
There’s a guy who gets on my bus.
He has lashings of brown curly hair, the most intense eyes, and a tattoo (or three) on his arm.
I watch him from beneath my fringe and thank the God of Fantasies that I’m trying to grow my hair.
I spend my journeys wanting to reach across the seats and stroke his neck. I long to run my fingernail along the words that form the tattoo along his forearm. I imagine kissing his pierced lips.
He looks Amish.
And oh-so very sexy.
My very own Adonis to gaze at with sinful thoughts and moist knickers on a packed bus.
I glance at him and experience thoughts of desire that haven’t been experienced for a while. I picture him holding me, making love to my body, nipping my inner thighs.
I find myself wondering whether he’s pierced elsewhere. You know, down there.
I giggle to myself.
[I think he must like Slipknot]
she had a secret (2005)
one day she screamed it out to her mother in the middle of an argument.
her mother ignored her.
she still has a secret.
maybe she has more than one.
maybe they eat away at her inside, shredding her soul into tiny pieces.
perhaps they don’t.
sometimes she worries about the secrets that she may, or may not, have.
but often she simply lives a life.
and is grateful for having a life.
she’ll always have a secret.
a tattoo? me?
but as he slept she ran her fingers along his arms, arms that bore colourful pictures of grim reapers and forbidden skulls. She was transfixed by the swirls, the perfect strokes and the imagination that had gone into them.
they were so kissable.
her birthday was approaching, her twenty-second. they hadn’t been together long, just a matter of months, but she knew what she wanted. it would fuse them together, make them as equals – and it would annoy the heck out of her mum.
he held her hand as they entered the tattoo parlour. she gazed about apprehensively, admiring the pictures on the walls, stifling the odd nervous giggle that threatened to chase her back out through the door.
she chose a rosebud for her arm, girly and safe. she stepped into a back room and closed her eyes as the tattooist gently took her arm and reassured her with soothing words.
are you sure?
yes, just do it.
she shuddered involuntarily as the needle pierced her skin. she felt the guiding hand tighten against her skin and urged herself to sit still as little arrows of pain shot into her.
eventually she opened her eyes and watched the tattooist at work. he was gentle, yet firm, the little beads of sweat on his forehead matching the little beads of blood that were sprouting from her arm. she was transfixed by the tattoo as it began to take shape, the pain becoming distant as her arm became numb.
and then it was over. the tattooist explained how to take care of it, how not to pick the scabs even when the itching was intense, and then he passed the pale-faced girl back to her boyfriend, who grinned happily.
years have passed and the boyfriend with his colourful arms is long gone, alcohol driven and mentally insane. but the tattoo remains with the pale-faced girl, a reminder of a life that now exists only in memory, a life that feels as though it should have been a dream, a life that was fueled by violence and shame.
but she doesn’t regret it. it’s a reminder of a relationship that made her strong, and opened her eyes to the world. it’s a reminder that she isn’t a victim anymore …
The Bar (2005)
her laughter was the sweetest sound he ever heard. he watched her sitting at the bar, her long fingers idly playing with the bright pink straw through which she sipped her sex on the beach demurely, with the grace of a woman who knew exactly what she wanted, her reason for wanting it and the way in which she was going to get it.
her confidence exuded a powerful sexual appeal, one which drew men to her in much the same way that dogs are drawn to lampposts.
as her laughter coursed through his head again he watched her slide off the bar stool and totter towards the ladies on heels that only the brave – or stupid – can wear. he sighed as he imagined his hands getting entangled in the long red curls that cascaded down her back.
he felt his own burning desire to relieve himself.
when he returned she was back at the bar, lipstick refreshed, blue eyes sparkling. he found it difficult to remove his eyes from her voluptuous cleavage. it beckoned him, tempted him to bury his head within her ample breasts and be smothered.
he kept his distance.
he sighed as he listened to her gentle irish lilt and watched her flirting with the man she was with, a man in a brown suit. he downed his jd in one, wincing as he did so. as he beckoned to the bartender the lady turned and fixed her eyes on him. she raised an eyebrow and a smile formed coyly at the corners of her mouth.
then she dismissed him, turned and began flirting again, with the man in the brown suit.
Yes, but is it brown leather? (2005)
Sheila ran her fingers along the edge of the mantlepiece, staring vacantly at the dust that gathered in the crevices so easily and pursing her red lips as she spoke to the faceless man on the other end of the phone.
She had little patience with the faceless men who seemed to consume her every waking hour. Those that didn’t treat her like a second-class citizen, like flecks of spittle on their Savile Row suits, often assumed that she was easy prey. Not that Sheila did much to alleviate this image with her peroxide locks, her standard Chanel lipstick, and her cute little leopard-skin purse. Her – usually short – red leather skirts often bracketed her into the vamp category of most people’s minds too.
Not that she gave a fuck.
She hadn’t given a fuck since the age of thirteen when Miss Prissy Missy Hockey Sticks had told the whole school Sheila’s secret.
Sheila sighed as the faceless man confirmed the colour and then idly placed the phone in its rightful place. Deftly lighting a cigarette with a casual flick of manicured thumb against flint wheel, she slowly turned and made her way to the door of the light breezy room. Straightening her skirt she left the room, leaving the door gaping open behind her.
At the front door she paused to wipe away a lone tear that trickled down her cheek. She leant her forehead against the cool frosted glass and sighed deeply, mustering up the courage to leave the comfort of her home, a home that doubled as business premises.
She hadn’t even reached the end of the road before her meandering steps became long strides, and by the time she reached the High Street she was running as if her life depended on it.
Which, in a way, it did.
Sheila stifled heart-wrenching sobs as she ran past pedestrians of every colour and religion. Everything she saw through the tears was a blur, a swirl of incoherent colours, and she barely made out the sounds of wolf-whistles and Whatdjadoin’ girl? through the thundering that echoed in her ears.
She stumbled as she reached the blue door and, as someone grabbed her arm to steady her, she used her other arm to wipe away the tears and snot that streaked her face.
The faceless man stood just inside the blue door. In his hand he held out an object. Behind him a faceless teenager hugged a bloody bundle to her chest. A woman sitting in a chair cried and repeated over and over and over again, But I didn’t see him.
Sheila gave a fuck.
And her world fell apart as she reached out to grab the collar the faceless man held out to her.
Yes, it is brown leather.
Blogging and the Mistress of Mockery (2005)
I have this problem. No, let me rephrase that. I have many problems. Innocence, gullibility, naivety, idealism, those rose-tinted specs, the inability to understand those big words, seeing the good in everyone, depressive mood swings, switching off when people talk to me, lack of eye-contact, staring into space, daydreaming, a nervous cat, laziness, forgetfulness, snappiness, kinky bears, biting …
My political persuasions, musical tastes, tellybox habits, reading material, homelife, beliefs, ways in which I see the world and lack of common-sense may be different to many of you.
Maybe you say tomAYto and I say tomARto.
I like it that we aren’t all similar.
I like it that we don’t all think in the same way.
I like it that we can banter and bounce ideas off of each other.
I don’t like it when people imply that maybe I’m a tad dense just because I don’t agree with them. It doesn’t make me stupid. It may make me look stupid, but perhaps my brain just doesn’t work in the same way yours does.
I don’t like it when people copy the important things that make this blog mine, that have my mark, my stamp.
I don’t like it when people agree with other people simply because they think that they have to, that it makes them look cool and the other person will like them all the more for it. I’d rather people said what they feel, and didn’t feel the need to hide their thoughts because others make them feel stupid for thinking differently.
I hide. I hide often.
This isn’t a popularity contest.
I’d like to think that I comment because you say something that inspires me, provokes me, makes me think deeply, because you make me laugh, or cry. I’d like to think that you comment here for the same reasons.
I have other problems. I’m guilty of sarcasm, whining, tongue-in-cheekness, dry wit. You may not always be aware. Sometimes I’m horrid, a bit bitchy. I take offence too easily. Far too easily. I take things too personally.
I wish I didn’t.
What you see is what you get. I can’t always change the little aspects that make me the person I am. And to be honest, I don’t want to.
So please, enjoy my company as much as I enjoy yours, but without making me feel foolish and vulnerable, without making me feel [really] angry, without making me want to hit you. Please don’t mock me, talk down to me or even humour me. Please don’t imitate the finer things in my postages.
And most of all, please don’t ever assume that I sit on the fence.
The reason you think I sit on the fence is that you don’t listen.
If you don’t listen, you don’t hear what I say …
You annoy me in all your self-righteous mockery [and you annoy me with your copycat techniques] …
Self-righteousness is not beguiling. It’s simply annoying. Maybe when you rule the world I’ll take note … until then just piss off.
Little Red Riding Hood (2005)
i am so sleepy. i’m always sleepy. mummy insists that i ought to be taken to see the doctor, but daddy just shrugs behind his morning paper and mutters faint little negative comments. at this point mummy tends to turn a beautiful shade of red, almost the colour of leaves in the autumn.
i know that this is the moment i need to excuse myself from the breakfast table.
i know you’ve heard this story before. it’s a classic, everybody loves it. i hear it said that you tell your children this tale as a form of entertainment. it makes them laugh and fires up their imagination.
do you really think it’s funny? you honestly believe that the horrid moments of my life deserve to be treated so flippantly? can you not imagine the pain and humiliation i felt that day … ?
grandma had given me a wonderful red poncho for my birthday. it was lined in fur to keep me warm on exceptionally cold days and it had deep pockets that could contain no end of mischievous objects. the hood was the bestest thing about it – it was detachable! can you imagine my excitement? nobody in my little village had a detachable hood. who would even think to have a detachable hood on a poncho? i was quite the novelty for a while. the girls would oooh and aaah and the boys would give me presents of red ribbons and stolen kisses. it was a golden season. i was loved, admired, kissed and fantasised about. i was the apple of all eyes. the cream that all the cats desired. the finest cheese in the delicatessan.
i spent the entire season with a quirky smile on my face.
and then one terrible morning we had a phone call from grandma’s help. grandma was poorly. she had an awfully high temperature. and grandma’s help needed to go out for the day, it was already pre-arranged.
daddy was at work. he’s a lawyer in the city, plush office and all the executive toys one could wish for. mummy was lying comatose on the sofa. too much gin, and at ten in the morning too! i was running a mild fever myself, had been allowed to take the day off from school and i was supposed to be tucked up in bed with some good books. but mrs mctoffee had a bad ankle [the day before it had been a bad back, and the week previous she had been complaining of a strained muscle in her little finger] and suggested that if i wrapped up warmly – with lots of jumpers and my wonderful red cloak – then i could make the trip to grandma’s. she even suggested that it could be our little secret, that i could be home before mummy woke up and before daddy returned from the office [or maybe the cheap hotel if he’d taken a detour].
i wasn’t too excited at going. grandma was old and she smelt horrifically of wee and evening primrose oil. i would sit and gaze at her wrinkles as she spoke to me, wondering why her face didn’t shatter into a thousand pieces. oh! but she’d been the cause of my popularity this season so it was only fair that, even in my own poorly state, i visit her, share some soup and offer to read some tragically silly romantic novella to her.
at this juncture in the tale i need to make it clear to you that there are no woods between my house and grandma’s. there’s some alleyways. a dodgy neighbourhood with rusty cars and foul smelling children. a pretty park with swings and roundabouts. but no woods.
laden with a flask of hot chicken soup, pockets crammed with tissues and parma violets, i left the warmth of my childhood home. it was a beautiful day. there was a crispness in the air and the sun shone brightly on the faint traces of frost that coated the pavement. i skipped happily, humming some trashy tune under my breath.
i was aware of the man before i saw him. he was whistling a hymn we often sang in church. old dave! he grinned at me, the soggy cigarette poking out of one corner of his mouth. i tried not to shudder at the sight of his rotten teeth. we exchanged pleasantries. he often did the garden for daddy in the summer season and we chatted a little about that. he kept his hands in his pockets the whole time. i told him that grandma was poorly. he knew grandma. she sometimes made him fresh home-made lemonade if she and he were at my house at the same time.
and then we separated. he went his way and i went mine. i skipped again. i stopped in the empty park to play on the swings. i talked to the ducks. anything to delay my arrival at grandma’s.
grandma has a very austere looking house, red brickwork and grey slate tiles. in the garden there are no blades of grass out of place. she’s extremely house-proud. i let myself in with a cheery hello grandma! i didn’t notice anything wrong in the kitchen as i poured the soup into two bowls. i could hear the radio playing classical music in grandma’s bedroom so i hurried up the stairs and walked through her open door …
… and dropped the bowls on the floor.
you think she was eaten by a wolf? even better, you think that at the end of the tale she’s still alive?
you don’t live in the real world do you?
red. everywhere was red. it wasn’t just her wrinkled face that lay in a thousand pieces. old dave! he was standing there, grinning manically. and the worst thing is … he was wearing grandma’s sunday best. he’d smothered his lips in her crimson lipstick.
and he grabbed my arm.
i don’t want to tell you the rest. suffice to say the next eight hours of my life were the most horrific. he made me do things no child should do and made me see things no child should see.
and it’s all my fault. oh, they say he’s mad, has been since childhood. apparently he was almost convicted for the murder of a boy-child, but the case was thrown out. not enough evidence. but really it’s my fault. i was the one who told him that grandma was home alone. i was the one who told him that she was poorly. i think i may even have let slip that the door would be open.
and do you know? i think i do remember telling him that she kept her life savings in a shoebox under her bed.
i am so sleepy.
how can i sleep at night when i know they might discover my secret?
dear europa (2005)
i watch you playing with your friends, nattering away without a care in the world, swapping sindy clothes and laughing happily.
i see your bright eyes as you secretly wade through the clutter in the under-the-stairs-cupboard searching for your favourite pair of shoes, a beautiful burgandy colour with a tragically thin strap. you are so desperate to pass them on to your friend. but you can’t find them.
i see you shrug.
it brings tears to my eyes when i glimpse your angry figure stomping up the stairs, heart pounding, fists curled and ready to lash out. brothers – they make you so mad.
i turn away and cry silent tears when your little face crumples up as the boys tease you horridly the day you wear pigtails. i cry silent tears again when later you and your friend tease the girl over the road who has to be in bed by six-thirty.
i smile fondly as i listen to the murmured delights that accompany your trip to the land of imagination, as you immerse yourself in books: one day you’re anne and gil is walking you home, carrying your books; another day you’re polishing the shoes of an older pupil and enjoying midnight snacks at boarding school; and yet another day you’re sitting in your wishing chair flying away to the land of brownies to have adventures with giants and pixies.
i relish the joy on your face as you watch saturday morning tellybox programmes with your baby brother. your mum vaccuums downstairs and i know you feel ever so slightly guilty, as though you should be helping her.
but remember the time you polished the wooden box?
one day you’ll have things to care about. one day you’ll suffer from more intense bullying. you may consider suicide, or run away from home. one day someone may damage you mentally and physically, for no reason, but just because they can. one day you’ll suffer the pain of losing people close to you, and you won’t know how to express yourself. one day you may even do things that others would consider daft. you’ll indulge in drugs, scream at your mother, hate your father, sleep with strangers, cry well into the night.
and one day you’ll come out the other side, refreshed and hopeful.
ready to face the world again with the optimism and imagination of the ten-year-old child you are.
The Stranger (2005)
It was just a whisper.
And yet it seemed to fill all the corners of the large sunny room. She flung her bag onto the faux-fur settee and kicked off a pair of black stilleto’s, failing to notice that they missed the cat by mere inches. A dog came bounding into the room, skidding slightly on the highly polished flooring. Seeing the look upon her face he promptly came to a halt, turned and fled back the way he had come.
The cat followed him.
*bang bang bang*
The sound almost made her choke on the vodka she had just poured into her open mouth. She shuddered and lit a cigarette.
*bang bang bang*
She cursed at the sound of hammering, realising that maybe this person wouldn’t just go if she didn’t answer the door.
She ignored it anyway and instead took a long drag on her cigarette.
*bang bang bang*
was followed by
*woof woof woof*
The dog came bounding into the room again, tongue lolling around, eyes brightly questioning her reluctance to answer the door.
I want to play, he seemed to be saying.
She rose from the seat where she had perkily perched her bottom and sighed deeply, stubbing out her half finished cigarette in a large pink glass ashtray, a souvenir from some Spanish holiday.
The figure was already almost to the end of her path when she opened the door. As he turned back towards her she raised her hand to protect her eyes from the glare of the sun – and also to allow her to better see the figure who approached.
He was of medium build, and his posture was good. As he neared he held out his hand and she responded by mirroring and holding out her own. He took it and his handshake was firm, clean, direct. She gazed into cool blue eyes and noticed the way his white hair curled slightly over the collar of his blue shirt.
I saw you. Outside the restaurant. You looked angry. Maybe a little sad. I wanted to check you were ok.
She stared at him a little coldly.
You followed me?
Well, he began, yes. Yes, I did.
There was a pause. Uncomfortable. A pause that only belongs to strangers who have nothing to say to each other.
You remind me of someone, he declared.
A child. A little girl I once knew.
She took in his soft features. She smelt his smell.
She heard his laughter in another room, another house.
She closed her eyes and played a game of hide and seek with a tube of Smarties and the coat belonging to the man who laughed in another room, another house. Her mind conjured up images of photographs and memories: her very first trip in a boat at the age of five weeks [in the boat belonging to the man who laughed in another room, another house]; the man who laughed in another room, another house holding her on his knee at the age of ten months, grinning insanely into the lens; ripping open Christmas gifts that were the same year in, year out – colouring books and pens from the man who laughed in another room, another house; smiling shyly at the man who laughed in another room, another house at a wedding, maybe two.
She shook her head.
No, she mumbled. No, you don’t know me. I’m not that little girl.
He gazed at her sadly and reached out to touch her cheek softly. She smiled apologetically and closed the door, hearing his soft-tread as he made his way back down the path.
A tear slipped gently down her face as she leant her forehead against the door. She wasn’t that little girl anymore.
But she would do anything to be that little girl again, to smell that smell, play that game and rip open those presents.
it doesn’t matter anymore (2005)
you meant everything to her. you should know that. and if you don’t then perhaps you need to cast your mind back to those heady days when she was your princess and you were her knight in shining armour, those halcyon days of old where the sun never failed to shine and the sky remained a constant blue [with a hint of pink].
she was beautiful. her hair tumbled down her back in heavy curls of auburn. her brown eyes gazed adoringly with wonder at anything and everything, flecks of green sparkling with delight as she surveyed the world that only you were able to offer her.
you forget that she squealed with a passion unlike no other when she saw poppies, that she could calm herself with a single stroke across her adored cat’s back, that she could find mystery and magic in any book you read together.
you forget the way you would pull her hair out of her face when she was ill, the tears that she cried when you visited her in the hospital, the look of determination that fluttered across her brow as she concentrated on a piece of work.
a little part of her deep inside died the day you deserted her. she sat at the top of the stairs failing to grasp that your cases were packed and you were leaving. why? what did she do to make you leave?
did you ever actually notice her confusion in the following months? or was it easier to pretend that it didn’t exist? she remembers the fights, the arguments over the telephone, the pain of knowing that you would briefly enter her life again and again and again, always promising, never delivering …
did you stop loving her? or was she always to be found somewhere in your heart? did ever a day go by when you didn’t think about her?
in her own way she still loves you. there is pity there. and the bitterness and jealousy sometimes crushes her chest. but if you could take her in your arms now and tell her of your love, would you do it?
would you do it for the five year old child that still resides in my head, begging for explanation?
Tick Tock (2005)
The room was cold. Empty. Bereft of any tangible memories. She spun round on the bare floorboards, the ash falling from the lit cigarette in her hand as she did so. She reached out for a past that hid in the shadows and refused to reveal itself. As her eyes began to blur with silent tears she gazed upwards, praying to a God that didn’t exist in the world she inhabited, praying for a salvation that would never be hers.
Fuck you then.
She turned abruptly, dropping her cigarette to the floor and crushing it expertly beneath her kitten heel. A lone tear caressing its way down her cheek was wiped away with a gloved hand and a strand of purple hair, playfully tickling her chin, was casually tucked behind an ear.
As she teetered toward the door she felt a surge of strength rise within her, a strength that came from more than the half bottle of vodka she had consumed in the car on the way over.
She could do it. She knew she could.