He tells her his sex life has improved no end since they started doing overtime together. They talk dirty for a couple of hours while the labs are empty and dusk gathers outside, but she’s wondering why she peps him up, preps him up, gets him ready for his girlfriend. She thinks he’s lovely. That shaggy dog hair all tousled and natural highlights – which is weird really because she normally goes for the dark haired types. It flops over his eyes that twinkle naughtily. He does a great Deputy Dawg impression and he can make his mouth look like a letter box. He makes her laugh. And her? She knows she’s nothing special. Hair a dirty blonde, skin too-much-time-in-the-lab pale, ingrained with coal dust around her hairline, smutted with dirt. She’s the best in the lab at heads though; holds the record. But then Dave Cowper taught her. She sets them up, calibrates them running up and down the row, always moving, no sore arse on heads. Right now she’s on methanometers: D6s and D6Ds. Her least favourite instruments but the area of most overtime, and she knows, overtime is Richard time: fluffing time. Continue reading
A woman in her thirties puts the phone down. She rests her chin on her hand, her smile fading, a sigh escaping…
That’s the third time she’s phoned tonight: my grandmother. She wants to know if her rent’s paid. I’ve told her it is. It always is. She couldn’t live like people do now; all that debt. Would drive her clean round the bend. Instead it’s us she’s driving round the bend: ‘Do you know, is my rent paid love?’ So I told her, ‘Don’t worry about it grandma, it’s all paid and dad’s coming up on Thursday to pay the next two weeks.’ But still she worries. Five minutes later she’s on the phone again: ‘Do you know, is my rent paid love?’ So I reassure her, tell her dad’ll be up soon. She won’t let him set up a direct debit, no, never paid that way before. She’ll pay same way as always, by cash. But it isn’t the same is it? No rent man knocking on her door now. Would’ve been someone to talk to an’ all. The tragedy of longevity; how isolating to outlive all your friends. Continue reading
St Andrews – 1974
The lady bus conductor has knobbly knees poking out above her long white socks; socks like mine; socks like a girl. She’s old, maybe twenty three: just like the engine which is knocking and rumbling, belching out black smoke from bus to us. We bounce our way to school under conductor lady’s watchful stare and stern beaky face; not daring to move and risk a reprimand. As I fidget on the scratchy seat I feel the rash rising on the back of my thighs. I stare at the identical homes trundling by and hope my mum runs to meet me or how will I know which house is mine when I return?
We walk across acres of playground, past the friendly oaks of home base from kiss chase with their comforting knobbly bark with nooks and crannies that fit my grip, all old and crumbly leaving green stains on my dress and an imprint over my heart. They smell now of earth, moist and rotting, permeating my lungs after the acrid ride in. As I near the building my senses are overtaken by the stampede of children thrum thrumming up the steps, the clatter of doors flung wide and a cacophony of voices rising to the ceilings and racing down the corridors, rapidly filling all available space. I’m swept along with them and plunged into the hot body smell that rises as we pull off our coats.
In the classroom the outside world is lost and calm prevails. I sit on my chair, feet skimming the floor as my legs swing, bent over my desk and I love that it all fits me just right. My teacher leans over me; wafts of her perfume envelop me along with a warm fresh soapiness. Her large chest swings towards my back and I feel the heat of her as her necklace dangles in front of my face hypnotising me. I long to reach out and touch that medallion, close my hand around it and feel its ridges and curves. She’s explaining but her voice is soft and gentle and far distant as her breath tickles my ear. I like the sound as it rises and falls; meaningless, soothing. As I turn towards her the massive expanse of her bosom fills my vision. Soft, downy white, motherly; safety, a home from home.
© Ammie-oy 2010