Sad News

I won’t be posting anything for a while except the fiction serial as my mother in law is coming to the end of her life. Hope you enjoy the serial.

Kirk out

Kirk out

Fiction Serial: Leave Means Leave Part 3

She told her story and showed the bruises to a WPC, they called social services and a woman came to take Anna to a shelter. She looked at Anna’s tiny bag. ‘Want to go back for your things? An officer can go with you.’

Anna shook her head. Leave means leave. No going back. She sat like a hostage in the back of the unmarked car and when they got to the shelter she was welcomed by a brisk, hard-faced woman called Eve.

By the time I get to Phoenix… the song had run on in her mind all day, altering the words to suit the story. By the time I get to the station, he’ll be in a meeting. By the time I get to the shelter he’ll be having lunch, by the time I’m eating dinner he’ll be coming home. She shut her eyes and sat on the bed in her tiny room. There wasn’t space to swing a cat but she didn’t care – it was her space. A video played along with the song: he’ll be swinging his car into the street, he’ll be spotting the car in His space, he’ll be cursing and yelling; he’ll be threatening to call the police. He’ll be thinking about smashing the windscreen but resisting the temptation because smashing the windscreen is Visible Damage and he never causes visible damage. He’ll be storming into the house primed to have a go at me because it’s My Fault, he’ll be running upstairs yelling my name, shouting Where are you? then he’ll thunder downstairs and see the note and – what? Her leaving him, actually leaving him, is so unthinkable she can’t guess what he’ll do. Will he scream? Yell? Jump up and down? Smash up the kitchen? Maybe he’ll laugh when he reads the note… he’ll sit down and pull open a beer, put his feet up and stick the telly on, wait for me to walk back in with my tail between my legs. And by the time I go to bed… It occurred to her in all this that according to Einstein there was no such thing as by the time I, no such thing as simultaneity. She’d been meaning to pursue her studies before He came along.

Her brain was a dead thing coming back to life. With him she’d had to hide it because he didn’t like clever women. Any female pundit always got him yelling at the TV: Smart bitch, clever clogs, snotty cow! She’d go and busy herself in the kitchen, staving off the inevitable.

No more now. No more covering up, no more hiding away, no more fending off his rages. Vistas of possibility opened up. She could go back to college, finish the course he’d interrupted. An interruption, that’s all he was, a hiatus. All her words were coming back; they settled on her shoulders like birds come home to roost.

But next minute the ground was falling away, she was spinning away from the world like a nightmarish bout of nausea. She clutched at the bed to stop herself falling. What was she thinking? How would she cope? She’d never been away from him this long, not since the very beginning. As soon as they got together he’d said I have to see you every day now. She’d felt so special back then, there was nothing he wouldn’t do to make her happy. A panic engulfed her, the earth seemed to break away from under her feet and she was falling, feet and arms flailing, reaching out for the nearest thing… she grabbed the pillow and clutched it to her stomach, breathing hard, trying to get a grip on herself, feeling nauseous like that time with the unlit gas. She’d never make it. Without him, she was nothing. Sometimes when she’d threatened to leave he’d beg so pathetically her heart would break and she’d sit on his lap, sobbing and smoothing his hair. Next day he’d be worse.

Eve put her head round the door. ‘Settling in all right?’ Anna nodded. The face didn’t look convinced but the head nodded and vanished.

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Kirk out