Musing Monday #2

I Go By Two Names.

‘Here’s fine.’

Olivia would not let Jonah drive her up to the front door. Not because the distance put him out, but because she did not want him to see where she was going. Yes, they were going out, and yes, it was serious, but this was ‘family stuff’ and following her last significant other who had accidently become embroiled in ‘family stuff’, she was not keen to make the mistake again. Of course Jonah saw this as an affront. In his simple, suburban, Sunday dinner type way, families were part of any functioning relationship. He had said as much for several nights now, but Olivia had no intention of mixing these two areas again.

‘Which one is it?’ He asked, craning his neck to try and make out the door numbers.

‘Stop here.’ she said, louder than before. Jonah turned to her.

‘Are you sure?’

‘Yes. Right here.’

If he proved troublesome, she would not wait for him to find a parking space. A parking space might give him the courage to get out with her. He was driving slowly enough that she could feasibly jump out. Open the door, mutter a goodbye, and then run.

But that would be ridiculous. He was her partner, they were serious. She could not just jump out of the car like she was a 14 year old in a hurry to get off a routemaster.

And anyway he could still follow her. Would follow her. It would exacerbate the situation.

She had to be smarter.

‘There’s a parking space there.’ She smiled, pointing to the closest vacant space. Jonah reluctantly steered into it.

‘Shouldn’t I at least come in? You know, to say something?’ He pressed.

‘To say what?’

‘Something to let them know I’m thinking of them’

‘I can pass on your sentiments’ Olivia said, ‘in fact, I already have.’

She raised her hand to stroke the back of his neck.

‘Everyone thinks it’s lovely that you’re supporting me through this.’ She said quietly. Quiet voices make things seem sincere, she thought. Especially when they were coupled with a display of affection.

‘They know about me?’ He asked, warming at the knowledge.

‘Of course they do!’ she smiled through the bitterness. She had to tell them something. They had asked her repeatedly, how she was going to get there.

Jonah leant in and kissed her. With the balance seemingly restored, Olivia stepped out of the car. Jonah watched her in all her black finery as she mounted the pavement to wave goodbye to the car.

‘I’ll call you when it’s over. Maybe you can come up then.’

Those were her parting words. If Jonah had been an observant man, he would have noticed that she said up instead of in. He would have noticed that the terraced houses had no numbers because their backs were facing the street. He would have noticed that Olivia was clutching a bag full of spare clothes. But he was too focused on his apparent snub to spot the signs of deceit. So Olivia stood and waved him off, and once he was out of sight she began the real journey to her family home.

 

 

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A Musing 19/08

I intend to post as much as possible to this blog. This is not a promise that i’ve been unable to fulfill in the past so I added another stipend to sweeten the pot (I like rules) – I’ll post a snippet of some of my original fiction every monday, and a personal piece every friday. As you can see I’m already late with this week’s, but trust me, no one is as disappointed in me as me. and maybe my old English teachers.

So first snippet of the blog, whooooooop:

Dan.

“Have you started smoking?”

Dan was trying to watch the news. There was something happening somewhere that was far more interesting than this potential confrontation.

“Dan?” his mother pressed regardless.

“Yes, mum?” he asked, without taking his eyes off the television set.

“Have you started smoking?”

“What are you talking about?” he replied, glancing at her briefly. He furrowed his eyebrows the way he always did whenever he considered something ridiculous. His mother powered through.

“I can smell it on your clothes,” she mumbled.

“It’s from the people at work,” he shrugged.

“Are you allowed to smoke with the pills you’re on?” she continued.

“I don’t know, mother.” he said firmly, finally turning to look at her, “I’m not smoking”

It wasn’t really a lie. At this very moment in time, he was watching the news, not smoking a cigarette. But of course his mother was not being literal. He knew that. He knew that, but the chance to use pedantry to cover his tracks was too good to miss.

“Well you should check before you continue,” she said turning from him. Dan shrugged his shoulders. The story on the news had passed to something about whales or Wales or the Wailing Wall. Slightly frustrated, Dan turned back to the dishes in the sink.

 

There was something therapeutic about watching the bowl fill with water. He had submerged his hands so he could feel the water level rising along his arms. Whenever he washed the dishes he thought about the beach. No particular reason why. Something about the smell of liquid soap, perhaps. The faint smell of clean towels. A memory of his mum and dad unrolling mats and opening picnic hampers. His dad taking him down to the sea, water around his ankles.

‘What’s down there, dad?’ he’d asked, pointing at the horizon.

‘More,’ his dad always replied, seeming far away, ‘More.’

Maybe that was some kind of hint, even then. Mr Osterwald was not happy. He’d always wanted more. Something more than-

 

Water was sloshing over the sink and down the cabinet doors. Coming to, Dan turned off the taps and stood in the puddle he had made. He really was losing it these days, going mad at the ripe old age of 22. He got a mop from the cupboard and began to dab at the puddle. His dad had taken him rock pooling too. There were nets in varying sizes. Dan had chosen the smallest one because it was red and red was his favourite colour. The two of them perched on the edge of a crater.

‘Can you see them, Danny, the little black dots?’

‘They look like eyes’ he replied, fascinated.

‘They feel like jelly,’ his dad said, then cheekily, ‘taste like it too.’

‘Yuck, Dad!’ Dan said, mock disgusted. His father just grinned.

‘Scoop some out,’ he urged, ‘and if we’re quick we can put them back without hurting them.’

 

Why was he remembering all this now? All he was doing was cleaning up a mess he had made; there was nothing romantic about it. He did not need to get so nostalgic. The kitchen was no place for nostalgia. All white, and surgical and cold.

Rose’s Turn

Although I stopped watching Glee a while ago, (an inability to allow certain/any characters to move on, and cast remotely interesting new ones won’t win you favours with me) I have a lot to thank it for. My obsession with Fleetwood Mac, for example, confidence to tartan whenever I want, and the reminder that my secondary school days were a matter of survival rather than all sports days and school trips.

At random moments in the day I find myself remembering odd lessons those first three seasons taught me. A dance that involves a lot of hair is compensating for talent, nobody likes a needy drunk and if you’re going to write a good song, it probably shouldn’t be a about a headband.

But on days like today, when I consider the long road ahead of me in terms of career and life choices, a very clear moment comes to mind. It’s an episode of the first season, in which Kurt tries to be straight. He takes an interest in his dad’s work, he goes on a date with Britney, he tones down his wardrobe. He wants his dad to love him. But that means, or at least he thinks it does, being someone else. But that’s not possible. So in the end he gets on stage, in full Kurt style and sings his heart out.

Well, someone tell me, when is it my turn?
Don’t I get a dream for myself?
Starting now it’s gonna be my turn.
Gangway, world, get off of my runway!
Starting now I bat a thousand!
This time, boys, I’m taking the bows and-

and I know this is from Gypsy, but I’m going to admit something to you. I haven’t seen Gypsy. But I have seen Chris Colfer almost move me to tears. I can’t act or sing to even a degree of his performance, but when I find myself waiting to hear back from a prospective employer, or rifling through old drafts of scripts and manuscripts and imagining how I would stage them, I hear the beginnings of the big band. It’s about time it was Jess’s turn.

Or at least began the journey to Jess’s Turn.

I’m still deciding.