Writing 101, Day Twenty: The Things We Treasure

Nestled between the tarnished change in my purse that is often forgotten about is something I treasure with all my heart. It is about the same size as a fifty pence coin and gold in colour. It is almost as tarnished as the change yet seems to glow with a strange warmth that only memories can bring.

It is a tiny turtle.

To most people it is nothing important. An insignificant knick-knack that wouldn’t go amiss at a car boot show but to me it is one of the most important things I have. For two long weeks I thought I had lost it as it was in my coat pocket then it wasn’t. I must have moved it without really realising and put it in a pocket in my bag but the relief I felt when I finally was reunited with it was overwhelming.

I have always loved turtles .. and in stressful times will often be found focusing on my “positive anchor” of forming a turtle out of my hands and making it swim .. hey don’t judge me! It helps!

Yet there is one reason this particular turtle means so much.

It belonged to my great auntie and she was pretty cool and not just because she liked turtles too!


Writing 101, Day Nineteen: Don’t Stop the Rockin’

We fell about laughing when you said you loved me. It seemed totally preposterous to us both yet at the same time we knew it was true. The air was full of awkwardness and for once I didn’t run from the three words that normally strike fear into me. No I didn’t run. Yes we dismissed it with laughter and repetitions of yeah you love me but not in that way and yes it was awkwardly amusing but it was a sign of things to come.

And so we carried on to live in one another’s pockets despite my internal protests at the situation. I wanted to run away but all I could do was run towards you. I was terrified by the behaviour of myself. I was terrified of falling in love and I was falling quicker than I realised.

We had both been in love before and as we lay entangled in each others arms, my hair irritating your nose, it felt like this was the first time my heart had ever loved before. It felt new and natural so I stopped trying to hide from it and I opened my arms to it and my heart to you and we both made silly mistakes, didn’t take into account each others feelings in how we handled certain situations but we got through it when normally I would have walked away I decided to stay.

And now? Well, now, I don’t see me ever deciding to leave. I’ve found a cure for my fear of commitment and it seems to be you. Granted at times all I want to do are pack my bag and disappear off to somewhere new but I couldn’t leave you behind. It wouldn’t be an adventure if you weren’t there to share it with me and I can’t imagine waking up without you.

I never thought this would be me. I never pictured me happily cooking dinner for a man, never imagined I would want to stay home every evening and just watch someone watch tv out the corner of my. I never considered I could trust someone again and let myself be in the situation where I could get hurt yet here we are.

You have changed my life, my plans and put the shards of me back together and you don’t even realise it .

I am so grateful for this preposterous love.

 


Writing 101, Day Eighteen: Hone Your Point of View

Mr Smith from number twelve should be leaving any minute now.

My arm twitches as I check my watch.

“Mum, it’s 8:26 .. Mr Smith is going to be late!”

She doesn’t understand my distress and instead closes the door to the kitchen. I’m unsure whether the door is closed to silence my narration of the street or to disguise her and my Dad’s heated discussion about the bills this month.

I hear people say that times are hard. I’m not totally sure on what they mean but I have this sinking feeling that I might just find out.

“It’s 8:29 .. 1 minute till you’re late ..” I sigh into my knees as the front door on number twelve crashes open and shakes within its frame. With red cheeks Mr Smith bounds down the pavement casting a glance over his shoulder to check the door has slammed itself shut.

Phew. 8:30. Well done Mr Smith.

What’s next. I glance down the street. Number ten stands alone. The porch is crowded with pot plants that are withered and the paint round the windows has turned from crisp white to a sooty grey over the last year. Mum always tells me not to stare at number ten. Apparently Mrs Pauley wouldn’t like it.I got shouted at three months ago when I sat here and watched two men turn up in black suits and shuffle into her house.  Mum told me Mr Pauley wouldn’t be leaving the house at 8:37 anymore. Mr Pauley was dead. My fish died so I know how hard it must be for Mrs Pauley.

A police car.

“Mum there’s a police car”

She’s not listening. Stamping my feet on the step beneath my feet she appears in the doorway growling at me.

I just point.

“Look.”

The car rolls slowly towards the driveway to number ten and a van follows behind it. Both stop. Two police officers step out the police car and a friendly looking man in jeans and a shirt jumps out the van.

8:41.

“I don’t want to come back into the house. It’s 8:42. Mum .. please.”

She’s pointing at the kitchen and beckoning me in as my Dad appears in the hallway.

I run indoors and the front door is swiftly shut. Mum and Dad stand in the living room watching out the window as I sit on the stairs in front of the grandfather clock listening to it tick. I hear Mum saying how this will happen to us and Dad laugh and say not to be so dramatic. He explains Mrs Pauley hasn’t paid rent since Mr Pauley died and that is why they are evicting her. I’m not sure what evicting her means but it can’t be good. Mum is sighing a lot and shaking her head. I can see her dark brown curls moving through the crack in the door as she tells Dad how her mum remembers Mrs Pauley moving in to that house about forty years ago and that it is so sad that her boys don’t help her out.

8:59.

“Dad you’re going to be late ..”


Weekly Writing Challenge: In the beginning.

Small beads of sweat ran down the back of his neck as he dragged bales of hay across the driveway. The sun seemed to have woken everyone up exceptionally early that day and the heat was already building up. Wandering into the yard he assessed his work for the day and tried to mentally prioritise the tasks that lay ahead of him.

There were bales to move, fences to fix, animals to feed and the chicken coop urgently needed sorting. He would start with the chickens because that wasn’t going to take very long and he was growing tired of chasing them about the yard in the midday heat. With that he picked up his tools and wandered towards the chicken coop just as a blur of brown and red shot out from the side clucking so loudly he jumped in fright.

“Brilliant”

He began to jog after the chicken whilst contemplating all the ways he could cook it if it tested his patience too much. He didn’t mean it, he hadn’t eaten one of his own animals yet and he didn’t intend to start just yet. The chicken bolted under the fence and he threw himself through the gate leaving it swinging behind him.

The chicken stopped at the road and looked almost knowingly at him as if he was mocking him. His patience was wearing thin.  He stood still, aware that one movement and the chicken would be off again.

Almost as he thought to grab the chicken a car appeared roaring down the road as if it were a race track. The chicken in its panic seemed to hurl itself into the road.

Feathers of brown and red danced in the breeze and landed on the warm tarmac before his feet. With a sigh he dropped his head down and said “why did the chicken cross the road?”

 

Weekly Writing Challenge.


Writing 101, Day Seventeen: Your Personality on the Page

Acrophobia. Fear of heights.

Heights. The mere thought sends shudders down my spine.

Irrational. There is no reason for this fear.

People say the fear is of jumping or falling from the height. That’s not true.

The fear is of being unnaturally high up. If I were meant to be up there I would be taller.

 


Writing 101, Day Sixteen: Serial Killer III

This is the final part.

Part One can be found here.

Part Two lurks here.

And here is ..

Part Three

The next few years of her life weren’t much to be proud of. There is no point in lying and trying to glamorise the situation. She was a mess. She would fall from man to man, from high to low and would pretend she enjoyed everything she encountered along the way all the time clinging to one of the most toxic relationships she could find because he had been there when she was desperate.

She was dependant. Dependant on drink, drugs, self harm and him. When they argued she would find herself amidst a surreal love triangle always looking for the next bit of comfort to take away all the hurt. She will admit she was in the wrong, that she used people to make herself keep going but she always was open with people about what a mess she was. Not sure if that makes it better or worse but people seemed to like her. Of course the kind of people who like a girl like this are the last people in the world she needs to be near.

She would fall from bed, to sofa, to bed. From man to man to drink to tablet to smoke. Her friends were all intoxicated and wasting their lives yet none of this would sink in to her conscious for such a long time and time was rapidly running out.

She left the safety of her mothers shortly after meeting Mr Wrong in a blaze of anger and agitation at the lack of drink in her system and messing about with her medication to try and gain some kind of kick. She was thrown out Christmas Day. It didn’t phase her. If anything it made her more defiant. She was more convinced that this was right, that her new way of life was fine and that no one understood or even cared. Her Dad was long gone and her Mum was fading further away, she needed to be with people who could relate to being this broken. So by Christmas Day evening she found herself sat on the floor of a single room in sheltered housing with numerous packets of crisps scattered around her and National Lampoons Christmas on the tv as she wrapped herself in a duvet and tucked herself under the arm of Mr Wrong.

They would reside in that room for the next three or four months as she attempted to hold down her job and keep herself going. She had stopped taking her medication again because tablets were never going to cure depression. She hid her razor blade in the back of her purse and she tried to drink less. The house was a terrible institution of the lowest and most lost people in the town. Inbetween the police knocking on the door and the drug fuelled episodes of the other inmates she found herself sat in a small dingy room with nowhere to go but further into herself and her mind.

Somehow she was managing to keep her job going, there were some wobbles but nothing her area managemer hadn’t seen before and hadn’t helped her through. At least there were no drink or drug induced disasters in the store now, if anything she seemed almost focused. Of course she was focused but there was still a bottle of vodka stashed in the electric cupboard. The reason for the focus was they had decided to move and she needed to work and keep working to fund it which of course she did. She’s not sure where the determination had come from but it was there. It was time she felt to start sorting her life out and prove she wasn’t that fucked up.

So they scraped together the deposit, the rent and they moved. Mr Wrong managed to get help from his family who would have done anything to set him on the right path and had got some furniture and bits and bobs and one evening after work they moved by wheel barrow and friend power they trudged the several blocks to the new flat. More than one room. Such a treat. They unpacked and she curled up in a duvet in front of the wood burner and tucked herself under the arm of Mr Wrong.

For the next few months they would pretend all was well. Various people would take over the living room floor at various times and she would just accept it and move on. She was happy. As happy as she had been in a while. The only episode of insanity came one evening when she returned home from work having been sent home because she was locked in the stock room having a panic attack. On arrival home and angry at the reaction being ignored by her Dad when he walked past her store she had set about destroying every little bit of him that was left in her life. The cards, the photos and the gifts were all ripped and torn, smashed and shredded and thrown into the wood burner. She was found sat there crying into the ashes when Mr Wrong returned home. She was still broken.

The phone rang one day and it was the estate agents. She had to move out. The landlady wanted to sell the flat and viewings were being arranged. She had to move. They had no savings, he had been out of work for a while and was bumming about smoking and hiding porn that he somehow managed to purchase all around the flat and at times they couldn’t afford food. How could they afford to move?

She begged and borrowed and he eventually found work as she kept everything just about moving along. His new job was well paid and for once he seemed happy. He was smoking too much and would drink if he could get near it. She had given up drink and hadn’t touched anything for a few months, she felt shaky but she felt strong. They found a cute little cottage and they moved with the new kitten she had fallen so in love with. All seemed on the up. Relationships with her Mum had improved and money was almost comfortable. She didn’t expect to come crashing down again. There she was one day, face down on the living room floor sobbing. Empty wine bottles and half read books scattered about the place as the backdrop to her announcing she had quit her job. The drink made her giddy and she didn’t know who she was.

Luckily her Mum got her a job where she worked before the spiral could start again and she threw herself into her new role. She did well and work became her escape as her relationship with Mr Wrong got worse and worse no matter what she did. She was never enough for him and she was so dependant she wouldn’t give up. She went to his work one day to meet him but he had already left and his boss said he had left his bag behind so she grabbed it and took it home yet curiosity got the better of her and there inside were the usual annoyances of smoking and pornography. She felt sickened. She was trying so much to be better and be everything to him but she couldn’t manage it.

Several weeks later her and her family would pack up her stuff and she would leave without telling him. She went home. They were in the process of being evicted as he hadn’t been paying what he said he would and she physically couldn’t work any more hours to compensate the situation. So she ran away to work 60 hour weeks to get herself clear. Which of course she did because as I said before, the girl can be determined.

It wasn’t long though before she was back with him. In secret of course. He was staying in some shared house near town which was unpleasant and she vowed to get him out of there and sure enough she did. She felt bad for losing faith in him despite the glaringly obvious fact that he was in the wrong. Together they found and rented another flat. Smaller and cheaper and this was a further progression of her unhealthy yoyo relationship habit with him. She would leave then feel bad because he had been so good to her so she would go back. Try to save him and in turn lose a bit more of herself that she had worked so hard to get back. Time and time again they would get together, fall apart, move apart, see other people, cheat on them with each other and return back to each other to try again. Each time adamant it was better than before but each time it was worse.

She will admit now that she should have walked away the first night she met him. No one should think a drug dealer who lives on someones floor is an attractive prospect and no one should spend the next seven years trying to make it all ok.

She got into more and more debt through him and would constantly pick herself up then throw it all away for him. Aggression began and after having been through so much she wouldn’t really care at the start as she didn’t really value herself. From boiling hot water to being pushed into a road she would stand by him adamant nothing had happened and everything was lovely.

Cracks however were beginning to form in her rose tinted glasses and even she couldn’t ignore them.

Then one day she found a letter amongst years of paperwork she had stored at her mothers. She had moved back home with the family and was sorting some things out when she uncovered it. The letter from the police about her reporting being sexually assaulted. She sat on a box that strained underneath of her as she read and re-read it. Everything flooded back and with the tears it began to clear the fog of the last six or so years. She shook with anger at herself for letting things get like this.

She now had a job she liked, a family and friends. She no longer drank or medicated herself to get through the day and she was over so much yet she still let one thing from then control her. Him. She went to work with this all in her mind. Things had been bad between them the last few weeks he had “accidentally” pushed her face first into a wall when he was drunk and she had accepted it at the time but now she could see just how destructive all this was. The letter that was one of the starting points of her unravelling had triggered something within her.

The phone rang and he started shouting at her about how she was prioritising work over him as she was working days and  nights to get herself clear financially. She stayed quiet for his speech. Let him make his point. She then informed him that everything had become clear. His ability to push her down, to control her, to be aggressive both physically and verbally was unacceptable and that from the start he said he would use anyone he could to get what he wants .. well she wasn’t going to be used. She put the phone down on him after telling him to leave her alone for good. She removed the engagement ring and went back to work.

A month later she would burn the letter from the police along with several other things on Halloween night. It had done its purpose and she felt stronger. She was stood there, no drink, no drugs and no controlling force pushing her down when she picked herself back up. That letter had made her realise how much she had fought, lost and given in to and how like everything it could be changed, got rid of and overcome.

She would never talk to him again. Never want to.

A year later she would wrap herself up in a duvet and tuck herself under the arm of Mr Right as she embarked on a new journey. Yes she still has scars and yes she is still a little broken at times but she has found someone who wants to put her back together not destroy her further. She no longer feels like the victim and she can now see all the positives from her journey.

So much so she wrote about them on her blog.

I may have been lost for a long time but I have definitely been found now.

 


Writing 101, Day Fifteen: Your Voice Will Find You

So just like that the geeks of this world are left homeless.

Comic-Con has been cancelled.

Marvellous.

I found out this news sat in my star wars pyjamas on a sunny Monday morning. Nothing good ever happens this early in the day especially when that day is a Monday. I had already started planning costume ideas for the next gathering. What am I going to do now? This was one of the only socially interactive things I actually enjoy, well apart from World of Warcraft but I am unsure exactly how social that really is.

I like to hide myself in books, graphic novels, comics, animations, films and games. I prefer to lose myself to mystical worlds where cats can fly, dragons exists and unicorns aren’t in hiding. Comic con was a safe haven for those of us who would rather live in Azeroth than London and it never failed to disappoint.

No more would I find myself lost amongst various stalls, where traders tried to catch my eye and my email address, whilst I contemplated just how much Pocky a girl really needs. (Pocky, for those of you that don’t know, is a Japanese snacky thing .. biscuit sticks coated in some enjoyable flavour.)

It was world for the geekily minded, where you could argue plot lines and perhaps meet some of your favourite stars whilst being surrounded by some of the best costumes you will see.

I remember the first time I went, I felt so comfortable as I walked between the storm troopers and said excuse me to Predator. It was surreal but normal at the same time. That is why it is heartbreaking that it has ended. So many good times dissolved into the past.

I walk to my wardrobe and run my hand over the beige blazer and skirt, ruffling the white hem and sighing that it won’t be seen in all it’s battle royale glory. Deciding to see what the world thinks of this I boot up the laptop and log in to a forum, the misery oozes across the page. So many characters despairing.

What would I miss the most I wonder? The discussions of what was best, worst and coming next? Meeting artists, writers, film stars and crazy folks dressed up like their favourite character .. the smell of twenty year old comic books nestled between Japanese food stalls and sweaty teens? No? I would miss the freedom to just be yourself. The world is changing and individualism seems to be being banned. Perhaps this is the start of a zombie apocalypse. I raise this in a post and suddenly people seem distracted from the crisis of a comic-con free world.


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