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:
“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.