More treats for you! Writing is so theraputic, and important. Particularly when you've had the weekend from HELL like poor Posie! Enjoy!
“I found a really big moth in my wardrobe last night, only I didn’t know what to do with it!” Fran was crying into her skinny latte, “So I just put a big glass over it and watched it flapping around in there all alone…just like me!”
Lunch was nearly over and Sally sat fixated on her new shoes. They were fluffy and pink and far more interesting than Fran.
“And then I thought of David because he always used to catch the moths you see,” Then with panic surfacing in her eyes, struggling against the puddles of realisation she asked, “Whose going to catch the moths now Sally? I’m not! I hate moths!” Fran erupted into hysteria, banging her head against the table, spilling the bowl of balsamic vinegar and olive oil from the beginning of the meal all over her head.
“Calm down, you’re making a scene,” Sally said, trying to subtly mop up the grease.
“But whose going to catch the little moths?” Fran sobbed, “Who will release them into the wild?
“I’m sure David will move back in soon,” she threw down the browned napkin and wanted to give Fran a good slap round the face but decided against it.
“Why is she yapping on about moths?” Sally had no idea. Now it was silent and she would have to say something, again.
“Now Fran,” she tried to look serious by putting the palms of her hands together as if in prayer, “That woman is too old to have children. Now, all men want is food and children. They are all just like David Beckham- extremely simple. He’ll be home soon, you’ll see.”
Fran smiled and a little bit of olive oil trickled down her face.
Sally quickly added “I didn’t mean David Beckham was coming home of course, I meant the other David. Imagine: you with David Beckham!” Sally burst into a fit of laughter and starting beating her fist on the table. She had cracked a fine joke and would have given herself a pat on the back if she hadn’t been wearing such a bulbous gillet that day.
When the laughing was finally at an end, Sally dried her eyes and Fran pushed away her food. She was looking thin and Sally was jealous. “When was the last time you ate?” she asked, “You haven’t touched you’re nicoise salad.”
“David always said that it was bad to eat tuna,” she replied. “Now that he’s gone, well I thought I was strong enough to eat it but…I’m just not!” The tears came crashing back down onto the tablecloth and Sally seized the opportunity to start talking about herself.
“It’s my anniversary today. Aren’t you going to wish me a happy anniversary?”
“Hap-py anni-vers-ary Sally,” Fran sniffed.
“Well done. Now that wasn’t too hard was it? Kindness doesn’t cost you know, pleasantries don’t charge.”
Fran tied back the hair from her face and blew her nose. Deep black lines encircled her eyes and she had never been paler. She had to pull herself together; her life was less important than Sally’s. “How are you going to celebrate?” she muttered.
“He’s taking me to Le Gavroche!” Sally squeaked, “Look at my shoes, oh and look at the anniversary card Jenson made for us, isn’t it cute?”
Sally had taken out a piece of damp toilet paper about 5 ft long and was slowly unravelling it to reveal a series of pictures documenting her romance with Dominic. The scene was drawn badly in felt tip pen and the acidic ink had created large holes across the paper. It was shredded at the corners and slightly yellow.
“He’s been learning about the Bayeux Tapestry at school and thought he’d make one for his mummy and daddy. He’s very creative. Look, he’s drawn an arrow going through my eye here, just like King Harold.”
“Yes,” Fran replied apathetically. She was staring into her coffee.
“Christ Fran, you could at least pretend to be interested!” But Fran just kept staring at the lukewarm latte or the sugar bowl or the toothpicks or the handbag, at anything except the thing Sally was trying to show her. “Why isn’t she looking at the thing I’m trying to show her?” Sally thought to herself.
She decided to grab her friend’s attention by raising her voice, as if she were talking to a disabled person, “I said I think Jenson has a real talent for art, that he could even make a career out of it, that or history. Fran, hello?”
Silence. Fran was so selfish like that! Why did it always have to be about her? The two had met at Interior Design College in the early nineties. Fran studied curtains and Sally was taking a diploma in cushions. People said they got on like a house on fire; a popular irony because house fires were particularly bad for interior designers. Yet Sally always got the impression that Fran thought herself superior and would frequently claim that curtains were more important than cushions because they blocked out the light to help people sleep. But what about when you have a bad back? Never thought about that did she?
Fran, who was shaking and rocking forward and backwards, interrupted Sally’s musings. She was tightly twisting a napkin round her thumb until it turned white. Her eyes: vacant. Her cheeks: white. Her smile: vacant. She glared into the cold tuna and whispered; “Fly away little moth…fly away home…” Then looking out of the window she continued; “When a moth flies to a light bulb it thinks its flying to the moon, but it’s not Sally, no, it’s only a tiny light bulb,” she paused, then like the peaceful eeriness before a storm when the gentle wind pushes a child’s swing or spins the wheel on an upturned bicycle, there came the the most almightly racket, “But it never gives up!” Fran shouted, “Always pushing, always reaching upwards to something it can never touch! Poor, stupid, little moth!”
Her head came crashing down on the table once more leaving Sally irritated by her friend’s pointless display of melodrama. All that imagery was so unnecessary and besides this was her story. She quickly downed her cappuccino and when the bill was paid the two women set off down Westbourne Park, popping into Monsoon where Sally bought a glitter pencil and Fran got a new hat. “Why do you still buy that stupid stationary?” asked Fran. “You’re a grown woman Sally Pooper.”
“I know, but they’re just so cute. I still keep a diary you know. I write in it when I can and I only use my special pens.”
They turned the corner and reached Fran’s shop. Fran had set up her own curtain shop, Curly Curtains, two years ago. People could bring in photographs or pictures and she would print them onto curtains. That afternoon she was printing a photograph of Pat Sharp onto a blind for a downstairs loo.
“Well here’s where I leave you,” she said. “Have a great time tonight.”
“Thanks and you take care now.” Sally turned shook out her beautiful long blonde hair and started strutting down the street, but half way down she stopped and turned; Fran was calling after her. “Sally!” she cried, “I’m not going to let the moth go!”
Sally bit her lip; people were staring. “For god’s sake will you shut up about that bloody moth?”
She quickly ran back down the street to Fran who was glued to the shop doorframe. Sally pushed her inside. “It’s really embarrassing!” she whispered, “just get back inside the shop OK?” Fran started crying again, but Sally really couldn’t be bothered. “I’ll see you soon,” she said and made off down the street.
Desperate not to be recognised Sally held the shopping bag containing her new shoes in front of her face. “How humiliating!” she thought, “I mean what was all that moth nonsense about anyway? I’m Sally Pooper, what do I care about any stupid moths? What does a moth, trapped in a glass, trying to reach a light bulb it has unknowingly mistaken for a moon have to do with me?”
“Ouch!” She had walked straight into a phone box. Rubbing her head she looked up through the glass to see a familiar, yet slightly shocked, face staring right back at her. It was Sylvia Bloomingdale.
autumn readings around the UK, magazines & 'transfeminine brokenness, radical transfeminism' - hi all, huge thanks to the folks who came to the I Write, I Rise reading, with Eli Clare (!) on Saturday at the Scottish Poetry Library. If you missed it, ...
6 days ago