I wrote this story of booze, heartbreak, gorgeous, gorgeous London and terrible office Christmas parties for Literary Death Match a couple of years ago. Hope you enjoy it – happy Christmas! Continue reading
The other week I got an email telling me that I was a runner-up in Elle magazine’s Talent Contest. I may have jumped up and down, resulting in some damage to my office chair, and definitely on hearing I will be mentored by one of the judges next year.
Elle’s topic was My Rebellion. It didn’t specify fiction or non-fiction, so I loosely fictionalised my one internet date this summer. It was not a success. Continue reading
“Do you remember the first time I said I love you?”
She leaned over and rested her head on her arms, smiling at him.
He was half-asleep of course, she shouldn’t be trying to get any reaction out of him now. She may as well ask if she should look into getting a new dress or do her hair differently.
She waited for more, but the rhythmic phuu phuu of air signalled that he had gone back to sleep.
She thought of all the places they had been where she could have said that she loved him. Walking hand in hand through a food market, laughing over how they both loved the same sort of intricately silly tomatoes. There was a moment, as he smiled at her, and she looked up, eyes wide. Perfect.
But I wanted you to say it, to realise how perfect a moment that was, how we could tell our grandchildren about it – “Oak smoked? No way!” – but you didn’t. So I didn’t.
Instead it was over honey. I’d gone to look at a bee stall at that fair and got talking to the lady there for too long. I ended up buying a jar of honey from the park; almost luminous, yellow and green.
I looked up, hoping to see you looking at me indulgently, admiring my enthusiasm for all things. “But you don’t need to impress me,” you said, later on. And it occurred to me that this had never occurred to me before. And I felt at peace and loved and like I knew where I stood, which was all I’d really wanted to know, and which I could only sort of see for myself.
And that night after you’d kissed me and curled into me, I felt you drift off and whispered almost under my breath. And just as you went to sleep, you said it too.
Today I have accomplished the followingly seemingly impossible tasks
- Obtaining tickets for Punchdrunk’s new show despite only remembering they were on sale 50 minutes after they started
- Getting previews tickets for same, saving almost £20 per ticket. It is admittedly very, very late in the evening and I will have to have a sleep.
- Acquiring the “Yes please!” of my three most theatrical chums, thus ensuring a group outing of great potential larks.
This coincides with my having started to transcribe all the writing in my writing folder, having thought that I’d left it on a bus on Monday, and being very glad that I hadn’t.
A while ago on an Urban Writers day, we had some great exercises in short story writing using props as cues. This is what I wrote about a black feathery evening glove, the sort of cheap velveteen thing I wore to James Bond parties at school.
In the spirit of Punchdrunk, it’s theatrical. Not in the spirit of Punchdrunk, it was written in 10 minutes so don’t come crying to me asking for your £47 back.
A story for you: The Glove
After dinner they got up, stomachs heaving, from the table and went through to the sitting room.
Clara had stoked up the fire while they had been feasting, and a sleepy glow descended upon the room.
“Before you all nod off,” said Papa, helping Aunt Maeve into the good armchair, “our friend Felix would like to tell us a story.”
Much gentle applause and slightly swollen calls of “Well done Felix” and the slim, dapper figure of my brother got to his feet and stood by the fireside. Papa gracefully bowed to him and signalled that the place was his.
Felix in turn smiled at Mrs Corrigan. “May I?” he said, tilting his hand towards her evening glove. She slipped it off and passed it to him.
I’m not sure whether it was the drowsiness after supper, or the reflection of the flames playing tricks on us, but as Felix stood there, still, the black glove resting in his hand, it changed. The feather trim sprang up and quivered – a rat, poised, whiskers trembling.
Felix started a ghost story in a low, soothing voice, but I didn’t hear it. Only the crackling of the logs and the whisper of the ladies’ dresses as that dreadful sight in Felix’s hand changed by turned into a monstrous spider, and then a whirling devil, eyeless but glaring at me, rejoicing in my every sin.
Screams rose in my chest, but my heart beat too hard to allow them out. The flames cracked and skipped. The dresses laughed and snapped. I thought I would pass out from the heat.
Then, “Thank you, Mrs Corrigan.” A flutter of applause. I open my eyes again, and the wretched thing really is a glove, after all.