It isn’t me, it’s you, he says, so I leave behind the love of my life at sixteen and travel to England to live with my uncle and his family. My drunk father gets easily coerced by his I-know-better brother to send me across the world.
Many years later, as he faced the wall of thorns, a young prince was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him aside and told him he was to be married.
‘Goodbye, mother. Don’t come out.’ My daughter pauses in the doorway, stooping down to press her powdered cheek against my cheek. Then she takes her own daughter’s hand, and walks off. Neither one of them looks back.
We had two special weekends coming up. Weekend one was Blackpool. Six of us. The lads only. Weekend two was Stig coming out of prison. Weekend one was excitement. Weekend two was dread.
Lying. Weeping. Falling. Sinking. Drying. Crumpling. Desiccating. Settling. That’s how it happened, the slow slip from stoved-in head to clean white bones. And now, here I am. Waiting.
Livvy and Hugh travelled by ferry from Nice to Calvi and rented a tiny bergerie in the northern mountains of La Balagne. It was high season, and the woman in the tourist office told them they were lucky to find anywhere.
She can feel that Isabelle hasn’t shaved her armpits recently. This surprises her. The fuzz of it burns Kate’s hands as she drags Isabelle into the bathroom. It’s easier than expected. The hardest part is getting her over the side of the bathtub.
Step 1: Wash
Run a bath. Clean the bath first, because you’ve seen the criticism around baths. ‘Bathtubs are full of germs!’ and ‘you’re sitting in your own squalor!’. Yeah, you acknowledge, baths are kind of gross. Cover the tub in bleach.
Pavel’s hands were sticky with drink. His fist slammed the bar. Another pint.
“That’s how you kill a rabbit,” someone said.
The pronouncement, made in a loud baritone, broke through the haze of Pavel’s third ale.
The road from school to Grandma’s house was treeless and the wind blew my skirt in every fierce direction. But when I got to the forest, it swallowed me.
Ten years. Oscar and I have been as thick as thieves for ten years.
We were both young, fairly decent looking fellows when we first met, with sharp eyes and white teeth that were still all there. Don’t get me wrong, we’re not completely decrepit now, but time hasn’t been generous to us.
It always starts with something small. I’m in the kitchen, putting away the shopping, when a raspberry tumbles from its punnet. Rolls across the granite kitchen counter. Drops onto the parquet floor. A shiver travels up my spine.
Living on Stamford Street, Stretford, us kids needed to be tough. Right enough, I had my big brother next to me – Eric – but still, I needed bigger. There was a war going on […]
Bal Kishan is a hitchhiker standing by the motorway, waiting to hitch a ride. He is a young boy in khaki shorts and a t-shirt with a torn hem. A car stops. He opens the […]
‘Seggy?’ Darren has made a daisy of orange segments on his big tedious hand. The hand is too close to my chest and, worst of all, my nostrils. Sweetness is invading my head, spoiling the […]
Food is what you need. Water’s what you need. Help is what you need. A shit is what you need. Oxygen’s what you need. A mate is what you need. A good groom’s what you […]
He’s drawn a tiger in crayon. White paper shows through the orange and black stripes. The eyes are slanted and green, malevolent as poison ivy. Broccoli trees surround the tiger, and a sky-blue river meanders from one side of the page to the other.
Mam’s hands are scorched by time, raised blue veins crisscrossed over parched skin. She has a misshapen little finger where Da once brought down the blunt handle of his knife when she reached for the salt.