I’ve decided to take a leaf out of Beetleypete’s book (https://beetleypete.com/) and have a fiction serial once in a while. Some time ago I started a series of stories based on Brexit mantras and I got as far as writing three stories. They were called Leave Means Leave, Take Back Control and No Hard Border. I guess the time has gone for them to be published commercially so I thought I’d upload them here. The first one’s Leave Means Leave – I hope you enjoy it.
Leave Means Leave
She’d first noticed it when opening the curtains: a black Ford sitting at a stubborn angle outside their house, no driver in sight. But facing the wrong way! You could hardly miss the No Entry signs at the top but even supposing you did you’d still have to slalom past the bollards risking substantial damage to your bodywork in the process. Joyriding? A car chase? Her imagination spiralled.
After work the car was still there, now sporting a square yellow reprimand stuck to the windscreen, a little gift from the traffic warden. They were very vigilant round here, though in His view they weren’t vigilant enough. The penalty notice would only slightly mitigate the Ford’s most heinous crime: that it was sitting in His space. If it was still there later that would spell trouble – mostly for her.
Anna had to squeeze round it to get indoors and in so doing noticed saw a bumper sticker, black letters on a Union Jack proclaiming LEAVE MEANS LEAVE. She felt suddenly faint and rushed indoors, locking the door behind her.
She had tried so many times to leave but it was so hard, like coming off heroin; the bruises fade but the craving reaches right down into the bone. He does this because he loves you. He loves you so much – that’s why it hurts so much. Love hurts.
It was her fault, always her fault. She provoked him. If anyone noticed she made excuses: He doesn’t know what he’s doing, he’s always sorry, he doesn’t mean it, not really. In her heart she knew fine well (sometimes her mother’s Scots surfaced) that he would never change, but in the end decisions were made in the bone. The head said one thing but the marrow spoke a deeper, stronger tongue.
It was the baby that woke her up. For the first time in her life she was afraid for someone else; those tiny bones growing inside her were those of another being, one she was determined to keep safe. So, miscarriage or not (and that wasn’t Him, she hadn’t even told him yet) the decision was made. She was leaving.
Yet still she stayed, living from day to day in a kind of limbo, the decision made and unmade a hundred times a day. What if the miscarriage was her fault? What if it was her punishment for not telling him? What if she got pregnant again? What if that made him worse? She packed bags and unpacked them again, keeping the essentials to hand but never quite taking them out of the door. And then that day, the day of the black Ford, without even thinking about it the decision was made. The margin was perilously small, large parts of her mind were wavering still but she ignored them. The die was cast; she was leaving. Pack a bag, write a note, walk out the door. Easy as ABC.
She wrote the note in haste lest her hand should betray her, not even bothering with punctuation. Im leaving goodbye. Three words; they seemed so small and inadequate – but that summed up their years together. She was never enough for him, always fell short, always made him angry – well, no more. She locked the door and as a final, no-going-back gesture pushed the key through the letterbox. The car was still there in His space, the sticker flashing from the rear: LEAVE MEANS LEAVE. She took it as a sign.
Deep in her bag she kept the one thing she had of the lost child, a photo from the scan. To give her strength she took it out and looked at it once more; the two round forms of head and body, the tiny white marks of its just-forming bones. Feeling the grinding fractures in her forearms she’d fiercely promised the unknown child that no-one would ever harm a single one of those tiny bones. No baby would ever be his. No. The no sounded in the bone, hollow and resonant; it was a decision taken in the very marrow. No going back.
Let me know what you think. Episode 2 coming soon.