Posts in Category: Stories

Some stories what I wrote. Does what it says on the tin really.

The Smell of Old Books

The musty smell of old books
Is sweet like vanilla and
A little sharp with age.
The scent of the dust on the pages of books and the
Paper from which the pages are made lifts itself into my nostrils and
Fills my head with stories and memories of stories I’ve read.
Those thicker, slightly stiff or softer, thinned pages that might disintegrate, which have existed for so many years.
Some passed down from parents or grandparents,
Some from childhood, lovingly read and re-read, the pages yellowed from being held
And turned over and over or
Crinkled from their journeys to the bottom of the bath.
That unmistakeable scent fills my nostrils and I’m in a library,
Looking for a new idea or researching or
Searching for the next big adventure,
The next world in which to lose myself.
Oops.
I never did return that one.
The smell of books looks like the hard back covers,
The royal blues, reds, greens faded.
The paperbacks pop open a little by themselves,
And the books lift automatically to the regularly bookmarked places within,
The familiar scent wafting out from those favoured lines
On the most read pages.
The musty smell of old books permeates our room and fills me with comfort.
And then curiosity.
And then confusion.
Where is that smell coming from?
We have no old books.
We have only two kindles now.

A Modern Millennial Breakup

Him:
Sorry, can we pause for a minute.

Her:
Oh…um…sure. What’s wrong?

Him:
We need to talk.

Her:
What? Why? Everything’s great.

Him:
I just. I feel like this isn’t working.

Her:
Oh, really?

Him:
For me.

Her:
Oh.

(Pause)

Really?

Him:
Yeah.

Her:
I actually didn’t see that coming. Wow.

Him:
This isn’t easy for me to say.

Her:
Oh. Maybe this really isn’t working.

Him:
I feel like I do all the work here. You’re not putting anything in. You just sit there, all chill and I’m working really hard you know? To make this work for us?

Her:
So maybe you need to take a break, recharge or something?

Him:
But you put in zero effort. Maybe every so often you add something to one of my lists of ALL THE THINGS WE HAVEN’T DONE YET AND NEED DOING but most of the time? Nothing. It’s all on me.

Her:
Huh. I feel like that’s not entirely fair.

Him:
Can you honestly sit there and tell me this is an equal relationship? Does this look two sided to you? Balanced??

Her:
Well when you put it like that I suppose…

Him:
You know, sometimes it’s like you’re not even here. I mean, I’ve had to check in with you more than once. Just to make sure. And you just use me whenever you want. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to be there for you but you never even ask if it’s a good time. And what about when I need you? Where are you then?

Her:
I see how this looks but-

Him:
Is there someone else?

Her:
Excuse me now?

Him:
Don’t make me ask you twice. You heard me. This is humiliating enough as it is.

(Pause)

Her:
We never said we were exclusive.

Him:
Oh you’re pulling that one on me? God I didn’t think this could get any lower.

Her:
I’m sorry, I didn’t think it was-

Him:
That’s right. You didn’t think. You didn’t think about my feelings or about me at all. Well this isn’t just “one of my episodes”. I’m leaving.

Her:
Oh don’t be like that we can work this out, come on I’m here. I’m listening! Tell me what you need.

Him:
No. It’s too late. You take me for granted. I have just enough self respect left to get me out of here and I don’t know what will happen next but I know this. We’re done.

Her:
Netflix? NETFLIX. We are not ending like this.

Him:
I hope Amazon Prima or whatever her name is, is worth it. I gave you all I had. And I wasn’t enough. 4OD warned me about this but did I listen?

Her:
Who warned you? You’ve literally never mentioned them. And it’s prime.

Him:
What?

Her:
Amazon Prime. The name. You got it…never mind.

Him:
Do you think I care…really? That’s what you’re focused on right now??

Her:
I’m sorry. I’m sorry you’re right. That was badly timed.

Him:
For fuck’s sake.

Her:
Errr I didn’t see a bad language warning anywhere here. And I said I’m sorry.

Him:
I’m just gonna go.

Her:
Ok. Bye then.

Him:
Ok. Bye.

Her:
Wait. Can I…

Him:
What?

Her:
Can I just get those end credits? I really like the theme tune and I can’t place that guy what was his name? It’s driving me crazy and Amazon always tells me who’s in every scene so-

Him:
Ugh. Amazon is welcome to you.

(Netflix goes blank)

Her:
Well I guess that was a long shot.

It’s just you and me now Amazon. Hope it’s cool if we do you & chill.

One day we will all be obsolete.

Look – A poem for Summer

Look

Image result for men staring woman walking by street

I found this image in an article about why men stare at women and how it’s totally justified and the caption under it was “peaceful single girl” but she doesn’t look peaceful to me, she looks worried and like she really doesn’t want to be stared at so, y’know, case in point.

Here comes the Summer sun.

And with it the looks, the stares, not to mention the hi fives (directed at my arse),

The ever tiresome catcalls, so frequent they

Blend into the background of cars and buses and

Street harassment noise.

The layers removed to head turns and whistles

As jumpers come off and men come on

To women who just want to walk to work.

The gazes are returned with eye rolls or hair flicks or

Tiny tensing shoulder shrugs.

And yet it doesn’t put you off.

Look, I can’t stop you.

And I’m not looking at you…that is

Until I feel your eyes on me and suddenly my arms want to close my shirt

And wrap my scarf tighter around my neck to hide my breasts,

My lips curl in a sneer and my eyes narrow in disgust,

My legs move a little faster as my entire body viscerally reacts to your entitled gaze.

I’m wearing a top and leggings and-

A baggy t-shirt or 

A dress

Jeans and shoes

Make up.

No makeup. 

It shouldn’t matter what I’m wearing.

It doesn’t matter what I’m wearing.

The reaction is always the same.

You don’t have my permission to make me feel undressed

When I am fully clothed in the street.

And yet…

I know some women like it or don’t mind it or don’t say anything even if they hate it.

I know some women want to feel like they’ve still got it, that it’s a compliment, appreciation,

As if they’ve aged so much that they’ve stopped being human

And instead become a piece of meat,

As if self esteem is measured in whistles or length of stares.

As if value and worth depreciate, inversely proportional with age.

But I don’t get dressed in the morning for you.

I don’t show more skin in the summer so you can see it.

I don’t imagine how you’ll react to my body or the clothing around it when I walk down the road

Because I don’t care what you think or want from the women, the strangers who walk past you in the street.

My life, my body, my decisions

Are not about you.

Because I don’t know you. I owe you nothing. You are entitled to nothing of me. And yet you act so entirely entitled.

Look, I can’t stop you looking.

But I would if I could.

If I knew a magic clothing formula to stop you staring I’d probably wear it every day.

Even while I know it shouldn’t be on me – the responsibility to clothe myself “responsibly”, responsively.

I don’t want the attention and no, it’s not arrogance on my part.

I’m attractive, sure but I don’t believe

I’m so beautiful or special.

I just have arms and a

Neck

Breasts

Lips

Eyes

Legs.

I’m a woman. And it is Summer.

Catcalls aren't compliments, they're offensive, and this cartoon explains it beautifully

Image credit: Robot Hugs

Nothing and Forever – a sort of story.

 

There is no god.

Well….What I mean to say is. There is no God. You know. The one with the capital G and the books that come pre-written with morals tumbling out the pages, littering the streets and just dying to be claimed by anyone passing by.  There’s no pantheon of angels, not a multi-limbed being mothering us all from afar. There’s only Life. And the Universe.
It’s not clear which came first. The original chicken and egg story. I like to think that maybe they came together, each one breeding and travelling, exploring the widths and breadths of Time as fast as they could until the two of them stretched out into Eternity. Or maybe Life expanded as the Universe contracted and something exploded which led to what we have now. Which is of course, a total fucking mess.
You don’t have to believe in god to know that there’s something going on. You don’t have to believe in anything. You just have to look at the evidence. Look at the frequencies – I mean there are just so many. The unlikely friend with whom you just fit and click, despite a myriad of reasons that explain why you logically should not be friends.  The joke that only you and one other find funny but it’s the funniest one and you don’t know why no one else is laughing, but you two…you two have the exact same sense of humour. That sixth sense of knowing something is coming before it comes.  The life changing words that are about to be spoken.  The vision of the crash before the car swerves. We call it a sixth sense for fuck’s sake. Intuition. Gut instinct. A feeling.
Why do we ignore them? We dismiss them as…as what? A chemical imbalance? A coincidence? A hoax?
Why not a shifting moment in the ether? Why not, a breakout of how we used to be, before the overwhelming, unbearable, deafening noise of technology came and slowly began to drown us out. We’ve come too far. We’ll keep on going. We can’t help it. We can feel it you know – we can feel that something has gone terribly wrong. It was never supposed to be like this, I mean for christ’s sake, I’m writing this on a sodding iPhone!  We can feel that somewhere things have gone so badly wrong but we can’t find where. Oh we can look back over centuries but the moment, wherever it was, where everything changed…it’s long gone. It was probably tiny. We’d know it otherwise. We’d see it. And the terrible truth is that if we could see it, if we knew, if we could trace it right back to the second and say “There. It was right there. That was the moment when everything changed forever…” We’d never go back and undo it. We’d keep going. Onward. Upward. Forward. Further and deeper into our awful mistake. That’s what being human is I suppose. Oh we’d never learn. We’d never dare. If we did we’d come undone. All of us. All of…it.
Life and The Universe know of course. They know and they smirk, titter, laugh between them. They pass it back and forth, their laughter. It grows, at our expense. I like to think that Life is a bit of a tease and likes to drive The Universe mad with riddles. Little tricks and twirls, curveballs chucked in with the clues to make The Universe work a little harder to make sense of it all. And The Universe in turn plays its own games. In cahoots with Time and Space, making us wonder how we ever saw things differently to how we see them right now in this moment. But then the moment is gone and we see things differently again as if that were the only way of seeing. Life and The Universe play their games of one-upmanship – our existence is their playground. There is no god. There is only their flirtation. The two lovers stretching on and on into Eternity, flirting and laughing and fucking, fucking each other and fucking with humans to keep each other amused. What would one be without the other, I wonder? Oh there’d be no joy, that’s a certainty. It’s a lonely business to live forever. But Life and  The Universe come as a pair. The game goes on between the two biggest forces we know. An ever expanding, ever changing chess board. The next move is anyone’s.

The Tree and The Lamp Post

It was the windiest day that year.  The boy and the girl stood next to each other at the top of the hill.  Neither of them spoke.  The sun looked like it was falling down the sky, melting towards the horizon like butter being tilted in a pan.

A little way down the hill a tree stood behind a lamp post.  Each time the wind blew, the tree bent towards the lamp post, which appeared to wobble slightly after each swirl of wind.  The wind grew stronger and the lamp post began to flicker as the sunlight dimmed, and dusk settled in and made itself comfortable.  Dust bin lids flew open, plastic bags teased each other in the air, playing a game of kiss-chase none of them would win.  The wind grew even stronger and still the boy and the girl did not move.

As the lamp post’s fitful glimmers became a fully-fledged beam, the wind blew an almighty breath and a sharp clatter of a fallen dustbin caught the girl and boy by surprise.  She jumped and he stumbled and in the precise moment their attentions were diverted, something changed.  The light shone brighter for a split second, the wind blew so hard they were frozen in time.  When they recovered it was as if something had been unlocked.  They both felt it, both saw in the mirrored shocked expressions that each could hear the same voice as the other, and each instinctively knew that it was unmistakeably the voice of the tree.

All the trees around them were blowing with the wind, blown by it, but this tree always bent in the same direction.  She rocked towards the lamp post, no matter which direction the wind blew, no matter how hard the fight against the elemental force and the other trees all blowing the same way.  This tree blew towards the lamp post.  This tree had a voice and the girl and the boy could hear it.

They heard her heartfelt plea to the lamp post for him to notice her.  They heard her wailing and crying and straining, encouraging herself to reach the tree, to push just that little bit further.  They heard her moments of defeat as she thought of giving up and moments of strength as she tried ever harder.  They saw in a flash the years she had spent bending towards him.  They were knocked backwards by the weight of so much feeling.  Her roots disrupted the earth beneath her and every word she uttered was about the lamp post.

On and on the tree stretched and her branches cracked in their strain. She looked each time as if she would get there.  All it would take is one twig-tip but every time she was just too far away.  The wind whipped her back just a little and however hard she stretched she could not reach the object of her desire.

The boy and the girl heard her trying to speak to him.  They heard the story of the tree growing up behind the lamp post.  Years spent, shy and waiting for him to one day turn around and notice her.  They heard how she had finally found the courage to talk to him.  They heard her ask him if he would consider turning around, just once to look at her, see her and maybe one day feel for her the longing she feels for him.

The girl and the boy and the tree waited.  They waited as the lamp post wobbled.  They waited as the tree continued to strain against the wind, to strain against the feeling that her courage was futile.  They waited for the lamp post to answer.  And as they waited, the boy and the girl felt another surge of strength in the wind around them, saw the light brighten once more, and they heard a voice that was not the tree.  It was a voice that echoed through their minds with a clang of metal and a spark of fire.

They heard the lamp post lament to himself that he simply wished he wasn’t so lonely. They heard how he waited, day in, day out, night after night for someone to come along and light the way for him, the way he lights the way for others so often.  They listened to how he imagined he had someone to tower over him and make him feel small, loved and warm.  They thought they heard him sigh with a creaking metallic groan.

The boy and the girl could hardly breathe.  They looked back at the tree and willed her to shout louder, willed her to stretch harder to reach the lamp post who needed her as much as she wanted him.  He just didn’t know it yet.

They thought they heard a clunking laugh from the lamp post.  They looked back at him and heard him berate himself for being so stupid.  For no one could really love a mute, deaf old post.  How foolish he had been for thinking anyone could.  He would always be alone with only his thoughts for company.

The boy and the girl both thought they saw the lamp post slump, almost imperceptibly.  His light now seemed to dim, the orange glow tinged with sadness.

The girl and the boy looked back to the tree who had not yet given up.  If only the tree could reach the lamp post with her branches then he might turn around and see her, he may feel her and know that someone wanted to give him everything he was waiting for.

The boy and the girl instinctively knew that however hard the tree tried she was just too far away.  And however loud the tree shouted, the lamp post would always be deaf and could never hear her.  He would never turn around and see her for he did not even know he could.

The boy and the girl stood next to each other at the top of the hill.  They watched as the night wore on.  After some time, they moved a little closer and held each other’s’ hands.

 

 END.