21 Nov Roisin Dunnett
I ask the man behind the counter if I can pay for the plum tomorrow. I buy one from him almost every day, so he tells me yes. I take it out with me into the winter sun. My teeth split the skin and it’s saffron-ness spills onto my tongue, it’s so sour and thirst-quenching. On the way down my street two small, unusual birds hop along after each other.
The cradle in my lamp is broken, where you screw in the bulb. Every time I turn it on the connection has been dislodged, I must twist gently and push firmly, until the appropriate contact has been made again, and held. Only one ear of my headphones works unless I softly pinch the wire as it enters the ear piece. Everything I own is fucking broken and has to be coaxed into working.
The men in that group were all interesting and pretty good looking, with wide ranging passions and great taste in music. They were all terrible in bed, but what could anyone do? They were what was available.
‘We are all suffering,’ said the lovely French girl, in her French accent and two jumpers, from beneath her nest of hair. She was being messed around by a DJ. All the women were.
While it is lovely to hear that something you have made is good, it if the person who tells you that is sleeping with you the statement is sadly meaningless. I think initially I fucked him because he bought me a samosa and I’d forgotten to eat lunch. The rush of happiness, the taste of savory potato, confused me.
Recently, the last year or so, it’s been all about the moon. Super-moons, mostly, but there was a Rose Moon too. We watched it rise from Parliament Hill, beautiful, pink, magnificent. I had just come from a graduate show, where I was startled to see myself, dancing, projected onto the floor. A club night I had been to weeks before had really been an artwork in which I had participated. The Rose Moon rose. It was supposed to herald a summer of love, but I doubted it would be for me. Lisa had left for Glasgow, and David was polyamorous.
A debate about the blue tee shirt took place at the foot of the stairs, where the drying clothes hang. We each, illicitly, had worn it, fearful of being caught by the house-mate who owned it. But none of us owned it. Thinking it over though I suspect I am the source of the tee-shirt. I am the only one of us who sleeps with men, the only one with access to an outside source of men’s clothing. Which one was it I wonder? Does this give me a greater claim over the tee shirt?
I make a new friend. Despite me explaining that we have no chemistry, everyone thinks we will have sex. We have sex. Later I realise I have sex with all my new friends.
I went out to find my cat in the middle of the night. She was standing on the communal lawn, staring at me the way cats sometimes do, like they’ve never seen you before in their whole fucking lives. In our garden was a dead pigeon. I poked it with a broom handle before picking it up in a bin bag. It was so horribly, surprisingly large, so horribly, surprisingly light.
Sometimes, cycling into work, I would see just a wing, smashed flat and spread on the road, a red feathered hand. On the way back from a party a friend and I disturbed two cormorants at dawn, heaving themselves out of the dark watered canal.
One Sunday soon after we met, we were lying on the concrete by the water. We were a slow daytime drunk. She played lazily with the buttons on my dress. I did nothing, but let her. Later, hearing the story, my house-mate called me the ‘Gateway Drug.’
In the library are many beautiful women. That one reminds me of an old photograph of Rebecca, the high dark bun and the thin pale face. She is wearing denim overalls. Another has heavy dark eyebrows, her gold necklace says Razam, she eats crisps and her long hair falls over her salty hands. Another has done her own fringe, it’s slightly lopsided, another pulls her shoulder-less top a little lower. I stare at them with secret affection for a while. It dawns on me slowly that they are all teenagers.
When me and my ex boyfriend were still together, we sat on the bus and watched another couple fighting. The better looking of the two was driving the fight, his remarks curt slices on the yielding back of the other: ‘He’s angry with him for being ugly’ my boyfriend, who I loved, said of them, quietly in my ear. ‘He looks at the ugliness and sees it as a reflection of himself, and he hates himself, and thinks the ugliness is all he deserves. That’s why he’s unkind to him, even though he loves him.’ How can you know that, I thought, how can you think that.
This summer I am practising headstands, I practise and practise until I can do them anywhere. Most days I ask ‘shall I show you my headstand?’ They are good for my arms and I love the feeing of suspension, of almost. One way and then another. Legs reaching tentatively into the sky.
She sings ‘What I want is a mysterious thing. So when I get it, it makes sense of a mysterious thing.’ I think of all the mysterious things which have been made sense of in my life, those which have yet to be.
I’m always listening, terrified, for the roar of the bomb, the sighing of the great wave. The sound that will change everything. When all mysterious things will make sense at last.
Roisin Dunnett is a writer based in London, England. Her fiction and essays have been published by, amongst others, Ambit Magazine, the Minola Review, Tangerine Magazine, Broadly and Queer Voices.