Friendship

  • Friendship

    Here

    This was where we first met. Right here on this bench. You were watching the cars, counting them, you said. Sneaking a glance at the driver, wondering who they might be and where they were going. You found it hard letting go, retiring. I had just had a fight with my girlfriend, my first long-term one. I was in the wrong as usual, and you helpfully pointed that out to me. After the fourth time of bumping into each other here anyway. It was right near where my bus stopped, and it was on your way to the village shop. You told me exactly what I did and what I…

  • Friendship

    Words

    I can’t get any words out. My lips seal as soon as the emotions rise in me. When you feel something, words travel with that feeling, and together they communicate what’s going on in that person. But words don’t seem to travel with my feelings. So, the emotions soar around inside me, and I sit there in silence, longing to communicate, scraping for something to say. But the words aren’t there. And the pressure builds in my head. My heart rattles around. I feel exhaustion take over and all I want to do is shanghai those emotions. So, I drink. The scrambled vowels and consonants darting in my head drop…

  • Childhood,  Family,  Friendship

    First Class

    ‘How long?’ I breathed down the phone. ‘Weeks,’ Martin’s voice choked back. The day after, at four o’clock in the afternoon, I popped around to the red-bricked house next door. Jenny was setting the table, and the smell of home-cooked cottage pie filled the air. She kindly put a teapot on for us while young Sophie played with her ice blue princess castle. ‘Does she…’ I asked, narrowing my eyes. Jenny shook her head. ‘We need to. But I just…’ Her cup shook against her saucer. ‘Let me help,’ I offered, placing my aged hand over hers. Her skin was so young. ‘How?’ Her eyes were lost, strong, and full…

  • Childhood,  Dreams,  Family,  Friendship

    Just a Toy

    Fourteen foster homes in fourteen years. Every year, a new home. There was always something. Not the right fit, just a temporary thing, they had to relocate immediately, too much of a strain on the family, behavioural issues, it’s just not working out. No room for error, no room for failure. One big mistake, and I was gone. And at fourteen years old, it was not hard to make one big mistake. I was expelled on the second day of my new school with my thirteenth foster family. On the third, I was gone. By that point, I couldn’t imagine ever becoming a piece in that well-known puzzle we know…

  • Childhood,  Family,  Friendship

    Freeze Frame

    Change comes to us all. A tight-knit family, torn by disagreement. A pandemic that alters the very idea of human interaction. Change came to me. When I look back, I see a video. Characters entering and exiting like actors in a Shakespearean play, scenery morphing in the background, colours, shapes, shades blurring in the fast-paced journey I travelled. Yet, one still image remains. The one I look back to, pine for, the days when I couldn’t imagine anything changing, when I was utterly happy. When my Dad took my brother and me to the local motor shows. We were allowed to pick one toy car from a mountain of them…

  • Friendship

    Beauty

    Cocooned in an expensive, beige coat, adorned with enough gold to make a Christmas tree happy, and masked with the perfect colour palette for my skin tone, I almost laugh out loud at the absurdity of each tear that drips down to my Jimmy Choo ankle boots. Click-clack. Click-clack. No one seems to notice as I stride through the heaving crowd over the bridge sheltering the river. The water glistens as every ray hits it. Click-clack. Click-clack. The scars beneath my clothes. Imperfect lines burnt into my skin from the months of growing a baby. Boobs shrunk to the size of flying saucer sweets from the months of that baby…

  • Family,  Friendship

    Logan and Lucy

    Lucy entered my life when Logan exited it. He’d been unwell for some time. We’d had many years together, our whole lives really. We met in primary school, and despite the bumpy road, we finished in our sixties. He slipped away peacefully, although can anyone really know if a person died peacefully? It was a Tuesday. A sunny day. I’ll never forget wrapping my hand around his cold fingers like a scarf that terrible morning. I wanted to keep him warm. I had barely shed a tear when a deep barking sliced through the stillness. For a second, I thought it was an awful mistake, and Logan was alive. When…

  • Friendship

    Our School Walk

    Every morning on my way to school, I walked past the same girl. Her mummy was never with her. We never said hello. She looked the same age as me. Her eyes were stuck to the pavement like the Velcro straps on my school shoes. She had a black rucksack with holes in it, and it was never zipped up properly. Once, a pencil fell out, and my mummy picked it up to give to her. She didn’t say thank you. She looked so sad, I wondered if she had a mummy at all. One morning, it rained so hard that I thought the sky was trying to make popcorn…

  • Family,  Friendship

    One Olive or Two

    The salty tang of olives would hang in the air, sun cream, sweat, salami and cheeses. Picnics with the girls. The sun hanging over our hot heads like a cot mobile. No one knew the time, no one cared. On the weekends, we were free. One positive pregnancy test later, everything changed. The weekends blurred into weekdays, the sun was too strong for a baby, and a watch ticked on my untanned wrist. Round the clock feeding. All the time. If I didn’t check the hour, the baby would remind me. And olives? Cabbage leaves were the new olives. One summer night later, everything changed. The baby burned as hot as the…

  • Friendship

    Just a Piece of Furniture

    He sat on me every morning with his black coffee and newspaper, every afternoon with his cheese sandwich and lemonade, and every evening to watch the six o’clock news. He read to me, stories of adventure and wonder. He talked to me when the loneliness grew heavy and thick like a raincloud. He sang to me, sombre lyrics, jolly lyrics. Some rare days we didn’t see each other at all. He was my companion, and I was his. One afternoon, after a few bites of his cheese sandwich, he slumped so far into me, I could feel the weight of his entire life. He didn’t finish his sandwich. He sat…