A while ago I wrote a few stories with titles based on Brexit: ‘Take Back Control’ was one, about a young malcontent who joins an incel movement; ‘No Hard Border’ was another. This is the third of those stories.
She’d first noticed it when opening the curtains: a black Ford sitting at a stubborn angle as though it had screeched to a halt, no driver in sight – and more puzzlingly, facing the wrong way. You couldn’t miss the No Entry signs at the top, but it wasn’t only the signs: it was deliberately difficult to enter the street from this end. You’d have to go right across the verge and bump up the kerb – and why would anyone bother to do that? A car chase, perhaps? Her imagination ran on.
At lunchtime the car was still there. Problem was, it was blocking their drive and that would mean trouble. A lot of trouble, most likely for her.
She went outside to take a closer look. The car was an Escort, one of the newer models with a dark interior, tinted windows at the back. There were no signs of life. Surreptitously, looking up and down the street, she tried a handle; the car was definitely locked. She walked all the way round as if looking for clues but found nothing. Only, at the back it had a bumper-sticker: in bold black letters on a Union Jack background it said LEAVE MEANS LEAVE. Anna felt suddenly faint; she rushed indoors and locked the door.
It wasn’t as if no-one had warned her – and she had tried but it was so hard. It was like coming off heroin. The bruises fade but the craving continues, the knowledge in the bone. He does this because he loves you. He loves you so much – that’s why it hurts so much. Love hurts.
How many excuses had she made? Walked into a door, fell down the stairs, hit my head on the cooker – so many excuses to explain away the bruises. Then once folk had started to guess, she made excuses for him instead. He doesn’t know what he’s doing, he’s always so sorry, he always makes it up to me, he doesn’t mean it, not really. She hated herself for going back every single time. How could she be so weak? But she knew fine well (sometimes her mother’s Scots surfaced) that decisions were made in the bone. The head said one thing but the bones spoke a different language.
More tomorrow. Comments welcome as always.