Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Discovering a lie

So the prompt I found was actually "Write about how you felt when you discovered you were lied to." but I took some artistic licence, mostly because I wanted to write about this unlikeable character in a sort of understandable way. See what you think.

Aaron Simakis played the Blondie track for the fifth time, his beautiful state of the art record player spinning the disc in a seemingly infinitely rotating circle, which from his position laying on his bed was somewhat hypnotising. As he listened to Debbie Harry’s sultry voice claiming “Once I had love, and it was a gas...” he reflected on his own shattered heart. He knew some people thought listening to vinyl was pretentious, a form of musical snobbery, but he liked to think it lent him a certain sense of artisan cachet. At least now he knew where she stood in that regard. That afternoon they had had the argument to end all arguments. Well, the argument to end them, anyway. Amy had been keeping quite a few things from him it seems. She hated his “obsession” with liking the right kind of music, she didn’t like the way he rolled each clean pair of socks into a perfect ball so he’d never have an odd pair, she thought the way he ran his tongue over his teeth as he looked in the hallway mirror was gross, he should “just go brush your teeth already!”.
But then there was the big one, the one she’d kept bottled up for some time. Apparently, at his sister’s wedding two months ago, whilst he’d (quite rightly, he felt) been passed out drunk on their hotel bed, she’d snuck off downstairs to the bar and then copped off with the best man. This might not have been quite so painful had he not known the bastard. Louis Gillespie was a slimeball. I mean his name was Louis Gillespie, could he sound much more like a mob boss? The guy was everything Aaron wasn’t. He was medium height but stocky; broad shoulders supported a thick neck which supported very little intellect inside a square-jawed face. Chestnut brown hair was slicked back for the occasion and he pushed his jacket out of the way by standing with his hands in his trouser pockets, continuously jingling his spare change and puffing out his chest in a timeless but nonetheless infuriatingly wanker-ish mode of machismo. He suited the role of best man though. He charmed and smarmed his way through all the single women in attendance and half the unavailable contingency too, including his girlfriend. He was like a bull of a slug, sliming he way through the female population, seducing them and ingratiating himself with his sycophantic words.
By contrast Aaron was a beanpole, tall and skinny with a violent mop of black curly hair and brilliantly green eyes. He was however, somewhat socially awkward and usually fell back on the awful sense of humour he inherited from his father to ease talkative occasions, but this almost never worked. He would have been more vain about his appearance if it actually got him anywhere with the ladies. It had got him there with Amy; at least he thought it had. But apparently not. Apparently she’d been lying to him for two months. While he’d been in bed wondering when the room would stop spinning, she’d been in bed with Louis Gillespie rocking his world with something other than alcohol. He thought about the way her sweet face had looked on Tuesday night after they’d made love, all relaxed and deliciously satisfied, rosy-cheeked and heavy-lidded, plump-lipped and dewy-skinned. It was a lie. His stomach wrenched and twisted at the deceit. She hadn’t loved him, she’d used him. The taste of bile rose in his mouth and he swore softly into the silent room. He could smell her perfume on the pillows and it sickened him. Such a cliché, but he simultaneously wanted to rip apart the apartment and eradicate any reminder of her being there and also preserve everything as it had been, freeze time in those few blissful, ignorant moments post-lovemaking two days ago, before the fight.
His “Heart of Glass” had shattered upon impact with Amy’s revelation and the shards and slivers were piercing their way through his internal organs. Everything hurt. His eyes were now a not so brilliant sludge colour, red-rimmed from crying. His hair was greasy, scraped back from his forehead with a girly headband, no doubt left by Amy. Damn it, he literally couldn’t get the girl off his mind. Underneath the reminder of her perfume he could smell his own body, sweat and sadness leaking from his pores. He should really have a shower, but with the curtains undrawn, the half-light of the room, the stale air and the disco music kept him suspended in a state of wakeful unbeing. He could feel the pain inside him, but until he outwardly acknowledged the jumble of hurt and anger, frustration, fear, loneliness and the lingering remnants of love, the pain remained inside, quiet and insidious but not yet fully real.
Time had moved on around him and Aaron had been lying in his grubby pyjamas for 3 days now, repeating their names in various combinations with varying degrees of emotion, but he just couldn’t reconcile the two. It was the frustration of a child who finds that two pieces of a puzzle just won’t fit together, but who keeps trying anyway. He threw his head backwards and stared blankly at the mouldering ceiling. And then a marvellous thing happened. Aaron forgave Amy. He forgave her for sleeping with Louis, he forgave her for disliking his preferred music, and method of listening to it, and most of all he forgave her for lying to him. He sat upright and contemplated a plan of action. He would go to the corner shop up the road and buy the nicest bunch of flowers he could with the fiver he had left in his wallet, flowers couldn’t be more than a fiver surely. He’d walk the mile and a half along the river towards her house and knock on her door. She’d open the door and rush into his arms because she’d been so lonely without him, she’d missed him so much. She’d beg for his forgiveness and he’d graciously say she already had it. They would probably spend some time in her bedroom and after that she’d go and make them a wonderful lunch as a special thank you for his generosity and expert lovemaking. Yes. This is how today would work. But first, he needed to shower. He may have prided himself on not being vain, but he felt that at least he should be clean for the reconciliation to end all reconciliations.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Sorrow croons as love begs.

Just a quick prompt I found me on the interwebs. Enjoy.

When I was a grumpy child, my Uncle Sebastian used to tell me “Vera, happiness is a choice”. I used to reply, “Uncle, if everyone chose happiness all the time, life would be very boring”. It might have been boring, but at least it would be safe, at least it would be bearable, at least it would be. When my Aunt Mabel passed away without warning, I should have forced him to eat his words. At least then he would have eaten something. Mabel had been a sweet lady, always ready with a mug of cocoa and a storybook, but it was Uncle Seb’s death that had been a defining moment of my young life. I remember wishing he would snap out of it, his depression I mean. He didn’t die in a flash of glory like some heroes, but slowly faded a bit each day. Each time I saw him, he’d be a shade lighter. They say people get the blue’s when they’re sad, but he didn’t gain anything; he lost a little bit of himself every time he spoke her name, when he got her mail in the post, when he lay in the bed they’d shared. The man that was once my hero disappeared piece by piece, washed out like a watercolour, deflated like an old balloon, until quietly, fifteen months, two weeks, three days and seven hours after Mabel died, he died too.
Depression gets you like that you know, it’s seductive. Sorrow croons softly to you with one face while it eats your heart with the other. The funeral was ghastly. I was nine, but the pinched and blotchy faces of relatives stuck with me. Apparently “It was to be expected”, “He hadn’t been the same since...”, “At least he was at peace now”. I wanted to scream at them. What did they know? The priest, with his pallid yellow face and ghostly white hair drifted over to me as I sat on my Grandmother’s uncomfortable chintz sofa, silently sipping at something resembling flat lemonade. “Do not worry child, Sebastian is with God now.” I wanted to hurl abuse at this man’s generically pious face, sneer at his kind words. But I didn’t. I bit my tongue and remained silent. He took my bowed head for youthful acceptance or maybe resignation and drifted away again to mingle with the other relatives. Crowded around as they were in huddles of black, they reminded me of carrion birds, picking at the memory of Uncle Seb, dissecting everything he’d ever said or ever done, weighing the merit of his devotion to Mabel against his disregard for the blessing that was life. I felt sick and stumbled bleakly towards the front door, abandoning my lemonade to make a sticky puddle on the chintz sofa.  
In the cold November morning, bunched up on the front steps on my Grandmother’s semi-detached bungalow, I cried. I cried, and then I prayed the hardest I have ever prayed. I prayed for my Uncle Seb to come back to me, to be able to hug him one more time and smell the cigarettes and aftershave on his wooly jumper, to laugh at his awful jokes and steal the biscuits from his private stash while he wasn’t looking, to spend weekends locked in scrabble tournaments because he refused to lose to a nine year old. All the love I had for the best person in my life begged him to be alive again. Then, just as suddenly as I had started crying, I stopped. The tear in the fabric of my childish heart was sealed over with a cold and waxy sense of calm. The tears on my cheeks cooled, leaving frozen tracks that I scrubbed at with my frost-bitten fingers. I might not be able to choose happiness, but I sure as heck was choosing not to feel this gnawing sense of loss. The waxy calm hardened into a resolve that encased my inner being, creating an armour impervious to all the teenage angst and adult heartbreak I was due to suffer hereafter. I understood now why he chose this mantle of numbness, but I wasn’t going to give into it completely, I was just borrowing it for a while. At least that’s what I told myself. I was Vera Mason, ice maiden.