Sunday, 2 January 2011

Tooting Bec

I've been wanting to drop that underground name in my blog for a while but just never find the right moment. The moment is now. Tooting Bec. I love it!
Onto new things. I'm still writing this darned David Lynch essay. I've totally veered off the subject of horror movies and just gone on and on and on about how great and original David Lynch is. Then something terrible happened. I tried to watch my third and final move for the essay. Mulholland Drive. I fell asleep. I thought I'd finally found something to be passionate about but it turns out I am far to fickle to be interested in anything for too long. I still hope to get round to watching it, and I've successfuly managed to write about it without watching the last half of it. There's so much on the internet I think its the people jizzing over him constantly which put me off.
I' very VERY excited, me and Chris are looking at flats. Only six months to go until we have our own place! We are looking at Walsall, you can get a gorgeous TWO bedroom flat for about £400 pcm. Bargain! We've found a lovely one in a converted mill but I'll let you know how that goes. Chris wants a balcony to grow vegetables. That is all.

I'm back on the writing. This always happens. Zero inspiration then BAM it all comes together. The story is below, I hope you enjoy it. It's needing a bit of tweaking but the eager beaver I am I will post it to you now. Enjoy :)

“Say goodnight to Frances” I sighed a breath so slight. Little Ruby made me kiss the doll’s nose. I was familiar with its cool black plastic, more so than with my husband’s soft, once welcoming lips. I kissed it every night under her inspection making sure I had shown Frances enough love. I felt more affection from this china doll than Michael. It was this house. I was sure of it. It was too secluded. The north wind always chilled it and the house shuddered under the blasting gales. It was hardly the most comfortable environment for raising our new family. Or maybe it was his new job. He was under a lot of stress, as he kept telling me. I caught my reflection in the landing window as I went to our bedroom. The once fine lines which crinkled from too much laughter in my twenties now deepened. They framed my eyes which sunk into the dull pallor which greyed my face. Instead of bright blue, my eyes were now a paler shade of grey. The sea air was meant to be good for you. Instead I felt the salt stick to me and itch.
I stopped on the landing at our bedroom door. Michael was hunched over his laptop sat opposite the doorway on the bed. I didn’t say a word but his posture made it quite clear I wasn’t welcome. His tanned face beamed back at me from the photograph over his shoulder in front of him on the dresser. I had caught him laughing on holiday. I was pregnant with Ruby and we were happier than we’d ever been. It was all going so well for us. Then I had Ruby. He loved her, sure. It was just. I turned back towards the stairs to pinch myself. People said it all changed when you had a child. The dynamics were different. You weren’t young free and single anymore. This was normal. We were normal. I headed downstairs for a glass of red wine.
Michael joined me later. Our new house lacked character although it was an old Victorian cottage. It should have been woven with secret crevices but instead stood bear staring blankly at me with cracks in the white paint from damp, I was sure. Its dark corners half filled with shadows even on a sunny day. I had tried to cheer it up with vases of flowers and paintings of vivid colours but it always felt cold. “Are you okay?” Michael asked me. It was a question but it begged not to be delved into too deeply. “I’m okay” I replied, trying to soften my voice. “Are you okay?” He just looked back at me and said “yes”. That was the extent of our conversation. We sat quietly on our new sofas, sunk into its soft cream leather. I went to move closer, to rest my head on Michael’s shoulder. The squeak of the leather under my jeans awkwardly stuck to the material. My glass knocked on my knee and tipped and I spilled a drop of wine. It hit the cream and ran down like a crimson tear and hit the carpet. Michael jumped up at once. I knew he’d be angry. He said nothing. I wish he’d have shouted it was easier than silence. Silence hurt my ears more somehow. He walked slowly to the adjoining kitchen and grabbed the green sponge. He scrubbed the red stain but it wouldn’t move. He gave up and with the same bad posture he climbed the stairs like a man on death row.
Morning came. I watched it approach through the slats of the blinds. I couldn’t wait to take Ruby to the park to play. I knew Frances would want to come too. “I’m going to take Ruby to the park today sweetheart” Michael appeared from the bathroom, steam rose from his broad shoulders as he patted his legs dry. “Okay.” It was all he said. And we almost held eye contact for a split second. As if he couldn’t care less. Well his mind was probably at the office already. He looked exhausted, his dark eyebrows shadowed over his hazel eyes, those eyes I hadn’t make a proper connection with in so long. They avoided mine. I looked at our dresser. There were the photos of our lovely Ruby. How could he act so careless? Time was so precious at this age.
I lathered up my body and scrubbed with the soft brush. My stretch marks glittered in the stream of water. Silver lines crinkled over the skin of my empty stomach. It had all been worth it. The rest of my skin remained tight under the water, still youthful. The drops ran off quickly, escaping, they blurred into each other. No drop was on its own. They swam together over me.
I heard a scream that split the water drops on my arms apart. The hairs rose and my skin pimpled as the screaming grew louder. It was Ruby, I skidded out of the shower and pulled my dressing gown on still soaked wet and tore into her room. Nothing. She was sat in the corner of her cot looking straight at me. Her blue eyes shone and her red hair glowed like it always had.
It was a day in December. The kind where if the sun is on your back anything is possible as it massages your knots. When you turn a corner it disappears and you’re frozen. I could see on Ruby’s face and her little white hands that she was cold when the sun beams hid from her. “Wrap up Frances please” she asked. I leaned over and pulled the blue fleece up to their chins and carried on pushing them in the old buggy. I could see their two heads bobbing with the motion of the pram, both faces staring straight ahead. The wheel stuck in a pot hole and jerked the two forward but they didn’t seem to mind. I brought the two to the swings. They seemed to enjoy it. One swing for Frances. One for Ruby. Frances was light and didn’t go up as high as my little girl. Ruby’s red coat contrasted against the clear blue sky powdered with light cloud every time she ascended. No sense of fear, she giggled as she swung higher and higher. I pushed. I was stood behind pushing harder and harder. Her red coat flowed; I didn’t want her to stop. Seeing her this happy made me happy. I used all my strength and pushed once more. Her tiny body swung forward, the chain slacked at the top and jerked the swing back making her tiny figure distort and fold over on itself. Her forehead hit the rubber front of the swing. I watched as it lost momentum. Slowly, slowly it stopped. I took Ruby and Frances pushed them back into the pram took them over to the slide. They had fun. Ruby smiled and so did Frances. We had a good day.
The evening played out as usual. Red wine for me as I waited for the half hour Michael would join me for. He came down, I looked up at him as he sat down but as usual he avoided my eyes. “We had fun at the park today” I said, I turned my head and his eyes flickered towards mine. “Good” Michael was glad we had fun. I hope he hadn’t forgotten Ruby’s birthday tomorrow. I had wrapped her presents all ready to open. They were secretly stored in my half of the wardrobe. Michael would not be happy if he knew how much I had spent and what I had bought. I bought lots of lovely clothes to dress her up in. She would look lovely.

It was her third birthday. Three years of my darling in the world. I couldn’t wait for her friends to arrive. I set the table. Five places. Each with a little tea cup and a saucer. A small plate with a miniature knife and fork just the right size for little hands. I thought to set this all up while Ruby was having her nap. I folded little flower printed napkins in half triangles. Screaming hit my ears once more. It shattered through the follicles and the hairs on my neck. It pierced through the skin of my lobes and splintered my ear drums. I dropped the tiny silver knife and split a delicate tea cup in half. I ran, becoming unstuck from the floor and took the stairs two at a time and reached the door. As I twisted the knob silence rushed towards me. Ruby was sat in the corner of her cot. Her blue eyes shone and her red hair glowed like it always had.
I replaced the broken tea cup and placed all of Ruby’s friends around the table. They were happy to be there, they were all smiling. I placed Ruby at the head of the small white wooden table. There was a knock at the door. There were no more guests. I had not invited anyone else. I approached the door and saw Michaels figure through the blurred glass panels, I could see the outline of his features as they melted each other. His brows furrowed as I clicked open the door. An attempted smile flashed over his lips as he held a small posy for me. I took the flowers and stepped aside for him to enter. I wasn’t sure what to say but the gesture spoke the words I had been waiting for. Maybe things would get better.
We cleared up the tea party and Michael even helped me wash the little plates and cutlery up. I sunk my hands into the bubbles and picked out a tiny fork. Gently scrubbing it we stood side by side. The atmosphere already felt better between us. I handed the miniature fork over and he patted it dry. Sinking my hands back into the water my hand felt a sharp pain as a clutched an object under the water. I brought my hand up and saw I had grabbed the broken tea cup. Blood spilt out of my soft palm and mixed with the washing water and onto the bubbles turning them a light pink. The cut was deep as I’d held the cup tightly. Michael grabbed at my hand as I became mesmerised with the flow. Such a rich red and my arm quickly turned red to my elbow and the blood mixed with the water. A scream. But now it was me screaming. I heard my own voice with my own ears but it seemed detached somehow. I heard a noise. A scream higher than mine, like glass shattering. I tried to wriggle free of Michael’s hold but he would let me go. “Can’t you hear the screaming Mike? Can’t you hear her? Let me go I need to see her!” As I twisted my wrist it pulled open the gash and blood flowed more heavily. He was trying to hold me still to wrap a towel round my hand. It was not as important as checking that my Ruby was okay. I let all my energy rip through me and pulled my wrist as hard as I could to get free. I pulled and it ripped the cut further but spinning on my heels to run up the stairs would be worth it. I sprinted two steps at a time running towards the screaming. I crashed open the white bedroom door and there was Ruby staring back at me. Her lips were sewn together but still the noise reverberated in my ears. She must be doing it. Screaming with her lips closed. I ran to her cot and picked her up. My bloodied hand smeared on her white night dress and I shook her. Gently at first but the screaming didn’t stop. I shook her again, my hands joined together and squeezed round her tiny waist and didn’t stop until Michael reached me and grabbed me round my hips. I tumbled taking Ruby with me. In the few seconds I was falling I clutched her into my chest curling my fingers around her delicate skull to protect her from smashing into a million pieces like a precious vase. I landed on the floor with a huge crash and the screams stopped. I held Ruby from my breast and looked into her glassy eyes, she was okay. No cuts or bruises that I could see. Michael pulled me to my feet with my good hand. He looked angry like I’d never seen him before. All of the good feeling between us dissipated and had never existed. His eyes filled with a red mist and he flung Ruby back into her cot. She smashed into the wooden bars splintering. Bile rose in my throat at seeing his violence enter her. I suddenly remembered the pain in my hand and my light head drifted as I hit the floor again.
Bright lights stung my sensitive eyes as a colour brighter than white woke me from my sleep. The starchy sheets felt unfamiliar to my finger tips and as I struggled to pull my eyelids apart the smell of a strong disinfectant hit my nostrils. He was here. Michael sat outside this white room on a plastic chair. He turned towards me. Looked me in the eye and smiled. I thought I was imagining it at first but he definitely smiled at me. He stood up and came through the door. “You lost a lot of blood yesterday, gave me such a fright.” I pulled my hand out from beneath the sheets, it was bandaged up with thick white cotton soothing the dull ache. My head thumped a little mimicking my beating heart. “It’s time to go home sweetheart” Michael smiled down on me and helped me swivel so I was sat up. “They you kept in overnight for observation but you’re okay to come home now.” He helped me to my feet and I slipped on my black plimsolls. I briefly combed my fingers through my red hair and looked at myself in the small mirror on the wall. Nothing too dramatic, a bit paler than usual but my red hair glowed and my blue eyes shone like they always had.

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