It’s been a while, I know. But I’ll get back into the swing of things. Just like the seasons, I always come back. Well…until global warming takes full effect and we have no seasons, just oceans. But I’ll probs be dead by then, so no new posts anyway. Perhaps ghost posts? I’ll consider it.
‘Is that what you’re wearing?’
‘Don’t you want to look like the other girls?’
‘What do the other girls look like?’
She seems uncomfortable. Or maybe she can’t find the words in English. There is a pause as she looks me up and down again.
‘Dress up a bit.’
‘I am dressed up.’
I’m certainly dressed. Clothes are on me. I’m not naked. But it’s wrong somehow. She’s not impressed by the suit it seems. I try to look at it from her point of view. Stand for a second in front of the long mirror and examine myself as she does. If I was her, maybe I’d think it was a bit too formal. A bit too ‘deputy head during ofsted inspections’. I pull at the jacket lapels. Maybe if I was her, I’d say there was no need to button the shirt all the way to the top. It’s too ’14 year old vying to be head girl’. Maybe if I was her, I’d wear stilettos instead of these lace up boots. But maybe if I was her, I wouldn’t feel the need to put on this much armour, so the situation would never come up.
‘I like this.’ I finally say. She shrugs.
‘The cab’s here.’
As we sit in the cab, she takes photos of herself. I watch. It’s weird that she wouldn’t take advantage of having someone there to take the photos for her, but perhaps this is just a manifestation of her inherent self sufficiency. Or maybe she knows how to take the photos exactly how she likes them, and doesn’t trust that I won’t try and add my own creative flair. Try and catch the waning sunlight. Include the back of the taxi driver’s bald head for aesthetic. I don’t think she would want to share the spotlight.
I turn my own phone over and over in my pocket. Shouldn’t I have a go? I’m not above pouting and turning my head in an imitation of Blue Steel. I can be as gratuitous in the amount of sex appeal I give off as any truly living person. But not today. I’m wearing that shirt, remember? Also my hands are shaking so much, if I tried to get my phone out right now, I’d cause a traffic accident fumbling about for it. I’ll just sit and watch the traffic.
All the people walking around in the summer evening.
All the people.
My heart is beating so hard, if I looked down right now I’d be able to see it protruding from my chest.
Don’t think about people.
Don’t think about the vast number of people on the planet and how they might react to you.
Don’t do it. It’s so unnecessary. It will never happen. And of all the things to think about that will never happen, there are much nicer ideas. Like a pagan revival. Imagine that. Just Zeus and the gang showing up one day, and turning us into inanimate objects for larks.
Think about all those dead Greeks and Romans getting resurrected too, and being just so unimpressed with me.
The taxi driver is playing the radio way too loud. Maybe because he thinks that’s what black people like. No. it’s probably because we’re young. No. Maybe he’s scared of the silence too! Of being alone with his thoughts. I want to reach out and touch his hand. I want to comfort him for a back story that I have just invented for him. I think I understand why Jonie says I’m guilty of projecting. It’s me I want to comfort. It’s me I want to reassure. But I won’t.
Because I’m already panicking.
‘What? From Camberwell to Dulwich? Nah, mate.’
There’s going to be some bartering. I get out of the car and lean against it. I close my eyes. I try the breathing exercises. I hope there isn’t a fight. I don’t think I could handle a fight. I’m so hot. Why the fuck did I wear a trouser suit? It’s 28 fucking degrees!
I want to go home.
‘I want to go home’
‘I want to go home.’
‘Ignore her. She always wants to go home. Let’s call it 15, yeah?’
He drives away, without warning. Or maybe he does signal but I’m so wrapped up in trying to stay calm that I missed it. I almost fall into the street.
‘What a fucking cunt!’ I yell after him.
‘Woah, cool it, yeah?’
‘I don’t think I can do this.’
‘You’re already doing it.’
I stand up straight. That was surprisingly profound. I stand and nod. She’s right. I am doing it. I’m outside, I’m dressed, and I haven’t actually shit myself yet, so really, this is a huge step up from last time.
‘Yeah, I’m okay.’
‘Good enough, let’s go.’
We go up to the door. She rings the doorbell. There is the din of african music and chatter. A woman opens the door dressed all in black. Her eyes are red and pudgy.
‘Hello. We’re here for…for the party?’
‘The wake? Yes, this way.’
She holds the door open. We look at each other. A wake? A wake? I want to ask my sister what’s going on, but she confidently marches inside. I stand awkwardly staring at the corridor. Is this what constitutes entertainment to the youth of today? I’m so confused.
‘Are you coming in, young man?’
Finally I understand.
I’m dead, and this is my personal hell.
Or at least training for it. Can I correct her? Is it morally right to correct a grieving woman? Does it even matter? Do I even matter? Why have I come here? Why do I even exist?
Reluctantly, I step inside.
Well, I say reluctantly.
I’ve kind of always wondered what my death would be like, and this, I can only assume, is it.