Monthly Archives: September 2016

The storm

Someone scrubbed out the sky. We arrived under endless clear blue and departed beneath muted grey, almost dissolving and discolouring to white. As if the colour was a mistake, erased. Or perhaps drained away: we have used all of our colour today and there is none left for the sky. The details on the horizon remain, the tree line picked out in sharp focus against the grey-white backdrop. It’s like a child’s drawing that started from the earth, penciling in a road, some cars, headlights reflecting and refracting in the rain, making it as far as the midline of the page and trees on the horizon but then leaving the sky blank. Or did the sky simply wash itself out ? All its colour weeping across the earth, falling in torrents of rain ?

We ascribe meaning to meteorology on days like today. We arrive bathed in sunshine, hot and anxious in unfamiliar suits and collars, and you depart under a cloudless sky. We then depart and the storm breaks; the sky is spent, its facade crumbles and it denies us sun and permits us only rain. The storm will last a good and terrible while yet. I think we know this and we dig in, hunker down in its eye and listen to the relentless drum of rain on pavement, the gurgle of over worked drains struggling to clear the deluge, and watch the battering of the leaves on stoic trees. The leaves will submit and fall as summer fades to autumn, as seasons renew, as the world turns.

We submit and fall in the storm as our summer fades to autumn. We will renew but not yet, not so quickly or implacably as the world turns. It can turn awhile without us. We will wait for the storm to blow itself out and for the colour to return to our sky.

 

……

This is for my mum, my best and most loyal reader.

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Powder blue

That bit was true. She wore powder blue. A skirt that shifted up and around her legs as I watched her walk, hips lifting and falling as she retreated from me. I didn’t follow her. She’d made it clear that I shouldn’t but there was nothing I wanted more than to chase her. Powder blue skirt, white blouse, hair pulled up in a loose bun, loose strands tumbling down her neck. I memorised her back. Her walking away was as good as it was going to get so I fixed it in my head. I love to watch you leave. Jesus, now you’ve got me sounding like the lyrics from some 80s hair metal band. Shot through the heart and you’re to blame.

That bit was true though. That bit I remember. The stuff before that I’ve tried to forget and mostly been successful. I expect it was the usual easy let down lines about not the right time or not in a good place right now or it’s not you it’s me. Your mouth said some words. Your perfect kissable mouth said some words. I watched it and remembered feeling it on mine but couldn’t reliably say what it said. You never listened. Perhaps that’s what it said. It’s a fair cop. Guilty. There’s not a court in the land that wouldn’t acquit though when I submit, in my defence, the glory of watching that mouth and tasting those lips and feeling that tongue tease and test mine. Who’d listen under those circumstances ? A better man than me. You were just too distracting. Too arresting. Does that make me shallow ? Did you get tired of splashing around in shallow old me, looking for some depths to sink into that just weren’t there ? I don’t know. Maybe I am. You just walked out on me and I’m fixing the image of your swaying hips and perky backside in my brain as my memory of this moment. I’m not proud.

There’s other stuff I’ve forgotten. Dates we went on as a prelude to sex. Conversations we had as a prelude to sex. Staring romantically into each other’s eyes as a prelude… You get the idea. The prelude was always pretty predictable. As we’ve established I’m shallow enough to have my well rehearsed moves fixed down to a tee. Like muscle memory. You could drop me down in a bar, in a cinema, walking down the street hand-in-hand, in a restaurant, in a gym, on a train, even one time buying some throat sweets in Boots, and it would end in bed. Or the floor next to the bed. Or stairs. Or an alleyway. As I say, you get the idea. I’m not boasting, it’s just something I know how to do. That part is always a means to an end. The fact that it is seems to always bring about this you-walking-away end.

It was all lies. I never wore powder blue. I might have worn navy or black or, when we first met, something red even, but powder blue ? I always knew there was a gap between the reality of us together and the twisted narrative playing in your head and presumably this was part of it. That I was all powder blue and perfect bottom and floor to ceiling legs and blow job lips. What the hell are blow job lips anyway ? Coming next month in Cosmo: 23 lipsticks that look great round his cock. So what did he tell you ? That it was all sex ? That he was dreadfully, charmingly, shallow and that I thought I was the one that would get him to dispense with the scuba diving and gear up with an air tank to fully explore our murky depths together ? He’d never use a diving analogy without some fucking gag about, you know, another kind of diving though. That part about him being shallow ? Give him some credit: that part, amongst all the lies, was true.

For the record then I wore navy. I remember it now. A straight, tailored skirt from Hobbs, cut just above the knee. There were no flashes of thigh or glimpses of suspender belt. No hint of what was underneath unless you were some kind of sex obsessed maniac that sees navy as powder; some permanent rendering of the world in soft focus. I guess that’s what too much porn will do to you. That and an endless compulsion to buy me “gifts” from Agent Provocateur. Yeah, sure I’ll wear those. Just as soon as you clamp your balls in a vice and shove a feathered butt plug up your arse. Also for the record my hips don’t sway or swing. I don’t casually sashay across the floor. I walk. Specifically I walk away from you and not so that you can watch me leave but so that I can get the fuck away as fast as I can without falling flat on my face in three inch heels. I’m amazed you didn’t mention those. Presumably you couldn’t drag your eyes away from my behind long enough to notice.

That stuff you forgot ? Honestly, you’re right to forget it. It was forgettable. You’re not the only one that phoned it in during those dates, during those meals, those films, those walks, as a prelude to getting to the mindless escape of fucking. You really think that was a one way street ? I’m not walking away because you didn’t listen or because ‘it wasn’t you it was me’. It was you. It really wasn’t me. I just got fed up finishing myself off every night after you rolled over asleep after another loud but short explosion. You’re lucky my name’s only got two syllables: I’m not sure you’d have ever managed to call it out before you came if it had been three. I was happy with shallow, I was feeling pretty shallow myself, but if we’re going to connect purely for sex then let’s at least do it properly. That too much to ask ? Sure, at the start, maybe I was looking for something more than that but not by the end, not when it became obvious that there was no more to you than that. And in the end you couldn’t even deliver against your shallow promise. You were a means to no end and that’s why I walked away. Remember me in powder blue if you like. It’s a lie but then all of it was.

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This is story 36 in a series of 42 to raise money and awareness for the mental health charity Mind. My fundraising page is here and all donations, however small, are really welcome: http://www.justgiving.com/42shorts

This is not dissimilar to previous story, Moonshot, in that it was just an attempt at straight voice. I’m not sure the two protagonists ended up being distinct enough but you can be the judge. As usual there hasn’t been an edit.