Saturday, January 26, 2013

Under

It's half eight on Saturday night. I have my computer on my lap and a gin and tonic sweating appealingly by my elbow. The radio is on and the rain is firmly on the other side of the window.

I can hear Ben upstairs, moving stuff about and occasionally swearing. He is packing to go to Australia for two months. He leaves tomorrow, swapping the rain on the other side of the window for sunshine that seeps through skin.

He and Dan are performing their fabulous show, Anthropoetry, in Perth and Adelaide at their fringe festivals, then popping over to Melbourne for a bit. I'm offering packing advice on request. "Yeah, one t-shirt's enough for two months", that sort of thing.

Every so often I demand a kiss, or a squeeze of the hand.

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

12.57pm, last Friday. In the staff room.

"Aren't you just really sad that Ben's going to be away for two months?"

"Yeah, yes, of course."

I stare out of the window, over the flat roof where ice slowly envelops abandoned footballs.

"But it'll be an adventure. I've never lived on my own in Manchester before. It might be fun."

1.58am, last Sunday. The Thistle Hotel, Glasgow.

Swathed in darkness, I lie, starkly awake. We had both drifted off during the film and then snapped awake, suddenly, during an infomercial about knives. It had taken us about six minutes to realize that we were no longer watching the film. We eventually did, and turned it off. Ben's breathing has become sleep deep, his back to me.

I'm at the bottom of a vicious, viscous cold. A snot storm is raging in all my facial cavities. My head's thundering, and the garish, clown-like visions of the infomercial are still echoing behind my eyes. Hallucinogenic faces leer out of my imagination, bearing knives and rictus grins. My heart flutters uncontrollably and, as I open my eyes wide into the blackness, colours dance and stab.

Tears begin to coat my cheeks, mingling with the mucus.

"Please" I whisper hopelessly into the black. "Please don't go. I don't want you to go."

11.40pm, last Sunday. My own bed, Manchester.

I open my notebook to write and a Lockets wrapper drifts out from between the pages. I have Asda own brand vapour rub smeared across the entire lower half of my face and am listening to the sound of my own laboured mouth-breathing. I feel, I reflect, almost the exact opposite of the woman in the Herbal Essences advert.

This time next week it'll just be me.

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

Every so often I demand a kiss, or a squeeze of the hand. I am trying to store them up. Two months' worth of tenderness, succour and thereness.

It'll be fine, of course. Two months is a tiny amount, of course.

I hope the rain stays on the right side of the window.

4 Comments:

Blogger Ellie said...

Sometimes you'll be sad, but sometimes not. Then he'll be back and you'll be glad. Xxx

8:22 pm

 
Blogger Ellie said...

I just realised I am one of the most consistent commenters here. It creeps me out. I hope I am not weird!

8:23 pm

 
Blogger Léonie said...

Ellie I LOVE that you comment. If you are weird it is in other ways than this.

(That was meant to sound nice.)

Thank you for being lovely xx

9:14 pm

 
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