you spent the evening unpacking books from boxes

December 25, 2009, 4:32 pm
Filed under: writing
“She exhaled cigarette smoke directly into my face. I didn’t mind. I never mind. Her breathe had a slight hint of cheap whiskey, and somehow, I could still smell her perfume. Maybe because I hadn’t showered today, and washed away her smell or maybe the fact she soaked herself in the stuff every morning before leaving for work. It was a sickly smell. Like her personality. Sickly.

Sickly like the sweets we used to eat when we were kids, remember? You remember the ones? We couldn’t get enough of them, and then, after we’d gorged ourselves, it would be weeks until we could even stand the sight of the wrappers they came in.

See, it was the same with Delilah. I craved her when I wasn’t with her.

“I can’t stand it Del. I.. Oh god, my nose is bleeding. Come back? I hate it, I hate you. No, I love you. Fuck.”

The messages I left on her machine were often garbled and left after I’d finished half a bottle of vodka, or forced several lines of cocaine up my nose. Fucking Del was always better when I wasn’t sober.

Infact, anything involving her was better when I wasn’t sober. The arguments, especially. I’d beg her to stay, even though I knew I couldn’t stand to have her around for much longer after sex. Maybe I was just lonely. Or maybe I was trying to convince her, and more importantly myself that I did care for her on some level. That when I uttered those three words just before climax, I actually meant them. Bullshit, of course it was. I didn’t love her and she didn’t love me, but where was the harm in pretending? So I’d beg her to stay, and she’d start to get restless and begin to dress, muttering excuses under her breath in the way that she did. Then the arguments would start as I began to rack up another line of coke.

“You’re high. You’re always fucking high.” She’d hiss. And then the yelling would start.

“So what. You’re always drunk.” I’d spit. She’d light a cigarette, and slam the door behind her.

Of course I’d call her. Four, maybe five times. Each time leaving a message that she’d delete before listening to. It was almost routine, the way Del and I.. well, the way we happened. Like the powder I forced up my nose, and rubbed into my gums; she was addictive.

Her glass sat beside the bed, next to the window. Rimmed with a bright red lipstick smear, it knew the touch of her lips better than I did. It knew how Delilah tasted of the cheap whiskey that masked her breath.


turbulent dreams.
June 12, 2009, 3:39 am
Filed under: writing
Staring at the back of his head as they laid together, awkwardly in the single bed, she willed him to turn over, or stir. When they’d first drifted off to sleep, he’d insisted on her arm being draped over him so he could hold her hand, but during the course of the night, he’d gotten selfish almost, and was now snoring gently, one arm tucked under his head, and the other at his side somewhere. She longed to reach across him again, and find his fingers to entwine in hers; to the warm rythmic carress of his fingers sending her back to sleep. She daren’t wake him; continuing to lay with her body pressed into her wall, the cramp in her arm becoming almost unbearable. It was getting light outside, and she just wished that somehow, the clock would go back five hours; bodies twisted and writhing in pleasure in his tiny bed, his nails digging into her back, kissing her hard and barely stopping to breathe. God, those kisses drove her crazy, they were addictive; and every second she spent not kissing him, she spent thinking about kissing him.

His phone was blinking on and off, brash music growing louder to wake him up. He grumbled; his hand searching around blindly to turn it off, and as he did, he rolled over to face her, smiling softly. Even his eyes were smiling. Her back ached and her arm was dead, but she wouldn’t have changed this moment in time for anything.

June 8, 2009, 11:16 pm
Filed under: writing
Maybe it was the concussion, or the lack of sleep and overdose of caffeine tablets. Her mind and heart were racing. The cold was nearly unbearable as they stood on the train platform, almost awkwardly, her eyes fixed on her shoes, and his eyes fixed elsewhere. A three hour train journey; she was so far from home. What would her mother say?

Their breath and cigarette smoke hung in the icy air, and she was rambling; like she always did when she was nervous. Digging her hands deeper into her pockets, she dared to look at him. He was beyond perfect to her. Even though it was impossible, and disheartened – she knew it; she wanted nothing more than for this night to last forever. He had a dimple in his cheek when he smiled, she’d noticed.

He looked cold, and was stood stiffly; his shoulders hunched forward as he took a pull on his cigarette. The smoke curled round his fingers, as he tapped the ash into a puddle by their feet. She swallowed, and opened her mouth to speak. Before the words could even reach her tongue, he spoke her name. As she looked up, he pushed his lips against hers and they kissed. The kiss she’d wanted for three years. The kiss she’d waited for. He tasted of beer and smoke, just the way she liked it. Her face burned red as he broke the kiss, and finally she spoke.

“You’ve no idea how long I’ve waited for this moment.”
He grinned, “I’m pretty sure I do.”

Settling into the back of the car, his hand found hers and their fingers entwined. He squeezed her hand, and she felt reassured. She’d never felt as safe, and excited. She’d dreamt of this moment, thought about it over and over when she’d lay in bed, alone, with just his voice at the end of a phoneline keeping her company. The driver was silent, and his radio was hushed, as they talked quietly about nothing in particular, and the thirty minute cab journey flew by in a matter of moments.

They climbed out of the car, and stood in the road for a minute as the cab grew further and further into the distance. The unkind glow of a streetlight reflecting on a puddle, the air was still. This was such a stark contrast to the city she’d left no less than a few hours ago. It was silent. No buses or cars whizzing past; no lairy drunks singing or dogs barking. Silence. Even with the odd streetlight, it seemed darker here. The houses were cloaked in black, not even a porch light lighting up the front garden, or a tv casting an eerie blue glow out through bedroom curtains. It was almost unfriendly and she shivvered; a mixture of nerves, excitement, fear and uncertainty. He smiled at her and his arm slipped around her shoulders as he guided her through the cosy streets.

“It’s so different from home.” she muttered, and he nearly laughed.
“There’s even a graveyard,” he pointed across her. “Ooh, spooky!”

She bit her lip and smiled as she continued to watch her footsteps, worrying too much that she’d trip over her own feet. Closing the door silently behind her, all too aware that it was gone two in the morning, she followed him tentatively up the stairs. Her heart was in her mouth; the lengths she went to just for human contact.

May 7, 2009, 4:18 pm
Filed under: writing
She’d always wanted to be centre stage with an audience. This was her chance, I suppose. It wouldn’t be long before the people with loudhailers turned up, I remarked. She was silent, still not turning to face me.


I had grown tired of her antics, the wrist cutting and the pill taking. There were only so many times I could sit aside her in the ambulance as she drifted in and out of consciousness. Last week had been the final straw when I returned from work and found her cradling a bottle of bleach on the bathroom floor. Three hours of persuasion and reassurance it had taken me to convince her that it was okay to pass me the bottle. Three long hours. We slept on the bathroom floor that night. To anyone else, I must seem cold-hearted and unfazed by all this. But after years of the same mood swings and ‘bad days’, suicide attempts and counselling sessions, you just learn to deal with it. You wouldn’t understand though. See, no one does. Not the doctors, or the paramedics, the counsellors, or therapists. Not even her parents or friends. No one. I do love her, I do, don’t get me wrong. The girl I met on the number nine bus is still in there, somewhere. But if she was going to continue with these cries for help, then help was what she needed. I was at breaking point.

When I’d told her over dinner that evening that I’d run out of options, and in the morning, I’d be taking her back to the hospital, she’d flipped. The meal I’d lovingly prepared was launched at the wall, plate and all. Spaghetti and sauce edged towards the carpet threatening to leave a bright orange stain. I refrained from the urge to rush to the kitchen to fetch a cloth, knowing it would only upset her more.

“You’re supposed to love me!” She screeched as she swept her glass of water to the floor.
“What do you mean you’re tired?” She spat as she picked up her fork and pressed it into her wrist.

“Exactly this, Rebecca.” I gestured towards the fork at her wrists and began to pick the pieces of broken china from the floor.
“You hold me to emotional ransom every time you have a ‘bad day’. I need a break. You think I don’t get upset too?”

You need a break?” She hissed. I bet the neighbours were loving this, I mused.
“If you loved me as much as you say you do..” she began to raise the fork away from her wrist.

And that’s when I snapped.
“That’s just it! I don’t. I don’t love this side of you at all. I lost the side I loved when you lost our baby.”

As soon as I’d said it, I’d wanted to retract that statement, but it was too late. She fled from the dining room and out onto the street. Fuck. I’d clenched my fist too tight whilst holding the shards of the dinner plate and ribbons of crimson crept out from between my knuckles. I couldn’t drive with a bloody hand, so I moved to the kitchen to bandage it before grabbing my car keys from the drawer and headed out after Rebecca. My hand was stinging and all my thoughts kept drifting back to the mass of cold spaghetti that was currently congealing on my carpet. And as I searched each side of the high street for her, I noticed a small crowd gathered outside the library, looking towards the sky.

“For fucks sake..” I muttered under my breath, as I slammed the car door. Yep, that was Becky alright, stood atop the tall public building. I could just make out her fiery red hair. Storming into the library, I raced up the three flights of stairs, unaware of the librarians on the phone to the authorities already. She’d be sectioned for sure, after this stunt. I burst through the door to the roof, why in God’s name was it unlocked? Surely they would have accounted for suicide attempts and kept it securely bolted – if not welded, shut. Why did the library need access to the roof anyway? They dealt in books! However, now was not the time for those questions, as Rebecca was slowly making her way towards the edge.


“Don’t jump.” A voice from below now echoed up to us. “For your sake, and all the bystanders. We can help you.”

I was right. The people with the loudhailers had arrived, just like they would’ve done in the movies. Loudhailers and a crowd, people trying to offer advice, and reasons to live. Finally, Rebecca broke the silence.

“I didn’t think I’d actually do it, you know James.” She crouched and peered over the edge slightly. My heart lurched and for a second, I thought she’d tumble forward.

“I just can’t go on like this anymore.” Turning to look at me, her mascara had bled yet she was smiling ever so slightly. She stood again and took a deep breath. Why don’t you come away from the edge? I said gently. She told me she just wanted to stand for a while, being so close to the sky made her feel peaceful for once in her life.

I took a step closer, my heart was beginning to race now. Out of all the stupid things she’d done, this topped them. I took a deep breath. I hated heights.

“Becks.. please.. You’ll fall.” I ventured, reaching my hand towards her for her to take.

“It’s flying, silly.” She took a final step forward. “Not falling.”

giving up the ghost.
April 23, 2009, 11:15 pm
Filed under: writing
Curled into the crook of his arm, she lay awake as she’d been since they’d woken up sixteen hours previous. He lay next to her, snoring quietly, a muscular arm draped across her shoulder as his breath warmed her face. Studying his features in the darkness, she willed his eyes to snap open and to humour her with that apologetic smile, before they had passionate make-up sex. A silent tear coursed down her cheek and onto the sleeve of his t-shirt, changing the colour of it to a darker gray. The moonlight streamed in through the sky light, because the blind was broken – no other reason; romantic gestures like love in the pale illumination of the moon was a memory these days’. This was her favourite place to sleep, but tonight, and for the last few days she’d had little sleep.

Her feet were icy cold, as was the rest of her; he was hogging the double duvet, and tonight she wasn’t going to fight for it. She’d given up fighting long ago -they’d fought too much. Things had turned rotten, and putrid, rapidly, like fruit left to rot in the sun. Her stomach began to cramp up again as she thought about everything, and she rolled over, facing his desk and the rest of the room, so as not to disturb his sleep as she drew her knees tight to her chest. Her stomach was in knots, her head in turmoil, and her heart was in her throat. He stirred in his sleep, and she felt him roll away from her. This had been the usual sleeping arrangement since Wednesday; back to back, not even touching anymore. Surely it wasn’t entirely her fault. So many unanswered questions and unspoken words filled the room and the atmosphere was heavy, liked a room filled with thick, dirty smoke.

She felt his arm as it snaked back across her body; he was awake then. Without resistance, she let him pull her back towards him and laid her head on his chest. For a few moments, he stroked her hair and they basked in the moonlight together, still not speaking, before she felt his arm land heavily on the bed and the gentle snores began again; dreaming of happier times, no doubt. This was how it was supposed to be. She wanted to join him in those dreams, sitting in Hyde Park with a bottle of coke and a packet of fags to share under a pearly blue sky, empty from clouds and birds, the backfield at Lola’s – the first night when she’d felt entirely safe with him.

“You know,” She began, speech slightly slurred and hair unkempt from hours of dancing to repetitive techno in Lola’s study. The air was bitter and icily cold for a typical summer night, where the air was usually thick and clammy, but neither of them cared, warmed by the alcohol that coursed through their systems. His fingers entwined with hers, he gently stroked her thumb as they lay side by side, staring towards the sky. The stars strewn out above them, unaffected by the soft orange glow of light pollution being made miles away in the busy streets of central London. “Because of the distance their light has to travel to reach earth,” he stayed silent as she drunkenly rambled, content just listening to her voice, her accent seeming so much more educated than his Essex twang. “We may be looking at stars that died years ago… We can see the ghosts of stars.” Sitting up on her elbows, she turned to him and smiled.

liquor and love lost.
April 16, 2009, 3:18 pm
Filed under: writing
“What the fuck is your problem?” She screamed, tears streaming down her face. This had been rising up inside her for so long, and she couldn’t hold back anymore. “You’re my problem, kid.” He took another drag of his cigarette. Still so cold and harsh towards her, not even frowning. Just a blank look. “I’m your problem? I’m your fucking problem?” She flew at him, still crying, and began to beat on his chest. “Your problem is you have no fucking heart. You’re so cold. It’s like… it’s like there’s nothing there,” she pushed a finger into his chest. “Nothing! You don’t feel, you just exist.” She spat, hoping to hit a nerve or anything, just to break him or affect him in some way. Any other emotion that she could bleed out of him would satisfy her, he was just so smug all the time. He grabbed one of her wrists with his free hand and held it in the air above her head. Her arms were tiny compared to his, which were thick and robust. His fingers easily encircling her wrists. “Maybe so.” he grabbed her other hand, and pushed her against the wall, approaching her slowly. “But you’re existing with me, kid. And I like that. Despite the fact you detest my very being right now, it makes me happy to know you’re wasting emotion on me.” Exhaling smoke in her face, as he pinned her hands above her head, cigarette still held between his fingers, he licked his lips, and a smile danced at the corners of his mouth. He tasted like cigarettes and whiskey, as he pressed his lips against hers. “I’ve always had a thing for you, kid.” Breaking the kiss, he touched his forehead to hers and smirked. Her hair was wet and stuck to it, and her mascara had bled down her cheeks. Just as she felt herself melting into his chest, he pushed her firmly back into the wall and let her hands fall to her sides as he made to leave. “Stop calling me ‘kid’.” She hissed as the door slammed shut and she was left alone in an unfamiliar room, with the aroma of smoke lingering in the air, and a taste of bitterness now on her lips.

friendly banter.
April 16, 2009, 2:55 pm
Filed under: writing
He sat in his trakkies and shirt, leaning on the arm of the sofa, monging out to Velvet Revolver. This was what it was all about. A cigarette pinched between his fingers, he air guitared and tapped his foot, slightly out of time to the beat. Chelsea, elbow deep in washing up liquid bubbles chinked cutlery against the glasses and cups; a noise which made my teeth hurt. “Lash us a fag.” I grinned cheekily, at the boy sat opposite me with holes in his ear lobes, big enough to fit my finger through. “Fuck off.” he sniped, tossing his cigarette packet at me yet smiling his boyish smile we all knew and loved. It was how we rolled. We’d bicker and swear at each other so much that anyone who didn’t know us well enough wouldn’t realise it was playful banter. Banter between best friends.

I flicked through the tv channels; music, cartoons, news. Over three hundred channels, and not a thing to watch. Chelsea joined us again from the kitchen, clutching her Starbucks mug to her chest with both hands. She curled up onto the sofa, in the space next to Tim, and we settled on a documentary about Hiroshima. Tim stubbed out his cigarette into a mug at his feet, and sat back laying his legs across Chelsea. He’d earlier admitted his love of weed and documentaries. We’d laughed, understanding the drugs part, but baffled by the mention of anything intellectual. He’d gotten defensive and sulked for a while, before Chelsea and I began tickling him and teasing him even more. Finally, he relented, pushing us off of him, and we’d fallen about laughing. We weren’t hurting anyone. Sitting in my flat, smoking the odd spliff and watching the Discovery Channel. There was no one we knew that was like us. We were content.

Later, we were joined by Ross; the alpha male of our group. Tim lay with his head in Chelsea’s lap as they shared the headphones and sang along quietly to Wolfman featuring Pete “waste of air” Doherty, as Ross referred to him. Ross, was sat too close to the tv, like usual when concentrating on his Xbox. He was mumbling along to Ruby, and shouting at Guitar Hero everytime he missed a note, which was more often than not. It was never his fault when he screwed up, always the game. Like most boys, really. 92% – he was unimpressed, and told Chelsea to shutup when she hadn’t even said anything and called her a bellend, before throwing a wobbly and telling the plastic guitar to “fuck itself”. The couple tired of Pete’s warbling, and the boy with holes in his ears; slightly larger than they were the last time I saw him, began to kick and punch Ross playfully. This was what I meant about playful banter. Ross would only call Chelsea a bellend, and Tim would only punch Ross to defend her because we were friends. It wouldn’t work any other way.

Tim and Chelsea retired to the kitchen, for a spliff. Ross declined, and we sat together in the dark; Ross on a beanbag by my feet, we ocasionally laughed and quoted films and tv shows to each other. Babyshambles began to drift out from the gap under the kitchen door. Chelsea and Tim’s chat was muted and the only light was the flicker of Family Guy on the tv. We were split into two groups, in two different rooms, doing two different things, but it didn’t matter. It didn’t matter because we were friends. Who knew days like this wouldn’t last forever? And as I sat with Ross, neither of us would have guessed. And neither would the girl in the kitchen, sipping coffee or the boy with the holes in his ear lobes, big enough to fit my finger through.