You could never get Grams out of her easy chair. She seemed to cleave to it like a limpet. She even had a chamber pot poorly secreted between it and the scullery wall beside the fire: almost on the hearth. No chance of her getting a chill – chilblains maybe. It must have been that which smelled like a stagnant rock pool.
Her face was dark and wrinkled and her chins stacked like little tyres above one of a series of floral scarves which were clandestinely replaced when they faded beyond recognition.
This millennium has grown too old for the world. As have you, my darling.
Outside, the street crackles with excitement; packed with revellers, dancers, grilled chicken, doughnuts, drums, poppers, horns, and a million streamers and balloons. A conga line weaves through the crowd. Glow sticks whirl in a galaxy of motion.
I shut the window and sit down beside you. I draw back the sheet to check your temperature. Your chest barely tells the rise and fall of life. You’ve been splintered with illness and treatment, dismantled and reconstructed. When your health could no longer be rebuilt, you were reduced to apologies and pitying looks.
You will always be magnificent to me.…
i haven’t always been upfront with you, esp. when it comes to sex. sure, it’s totally natural, and so what’s there to be embarrassed about, right? well. if you haven’t already guessed, i prefer to keep some things private. or at the very least, just between me and the person i’m sleeping with. still, i set out to tell you the truth about chloë and me, and so and though i can’t say that i’m totally comfortable with what i’m about to tell you, i’m just going to come out and say it, just so you know.
so what now, then, huh?…
Morning Must-Do List (Day 365 at Painted Rock Creations)
- Wear impenetrable armor to prevent the How-In-The-World-Did-You-Get-This-Job-Managers (HITWDYGTJ-M) from detecting my actual flaws.
- Google what to wear to make walking, sitting, and walking away easier to do when you’re wearing a shield on your body and mind.
- Eat a protein bar (or several) like I am starving during the morning team meeting to stop myself from opening my mouth to say that any intelligent, forward-thinking person would see the HITWDYGTJ-M’s ideas to purchase cheap plastic rocks won’t work.
- Cancel my hair appointment so that my long strands will continue to hide my eyes that roll during meetings.
- Send an email to my boss (and cc myself) that gives him ideas that will work like hiring artists to create templates for new looks, if that’s what they want. But I must make sure he also knows that I, Abbey Bell-Watson, want to be credited for that idea (not your idea, Mickey. Jerk!) Even if it is just this one time.
I hate the sea. At school someone said there’s under-ocean canyons deeper than ten cathedrals, full of cold and starving things with mouths that can open wider than their own bodies and fins with glowing bits they use to seek you out. They just stay at the bottom, waiting for drowned things to sink. I can’t imagine going down, down, into the heavy darkness, and watching these little lights getting closer and closer, and knowing what’s behind them. I can’t think of that.
They won’t have missed the lantern in the shop. They’ve got loads of them, cheap things, only paper, with a thin card platform underneath holding a tea-candle. So I don’t feel too guilty about nicking it, even though Mr. and Mrs. Chang are really nice. Anyway, I think they’d understand, if they knew. If they knew why I took it, I mean, not just that I took it. They already know we’re being kicked out of the flat now Dad’s gone, and the money’s gone. I think that’s why Mr Chang gives me a tube of Smarties sometimes.…