Breathing the cold morning air at the station. The taste of coffee turning foul in my mouth. Anxiously awaiting the silence of your touch and the conversation of your lips on mine giving life back to my body. A train arrives. People moving in squirming masses through the metal barricade that is still separating us. I see you. There in the crowd. I see you … Continue reading Lov
Slippers, apple cores
Plump, warm – her brown eyes sparkle
My pillar of strength.
Mum had a habit of eating the entirety of an apple. The peel, the fruit, the core; all the apple would disappear. The first time I saw her leave an apple core unchallenged, Henry had made a comment, a jibe trying to be a joke that didn’t quite pay off. Henry was always doing that – trying to challenge my mother, to unsettle her. But in his passive aggressive cunning, he didn’t notice the way her eyes glazed over, and how, like hitting restart on a computer, she’d shut down for a short time before putting her face of normality back on and delivering a similarly sharp retort that snapped his neck to the ground with embarrassment. Mum was always doing that – trying to put him in his place, pushing him out of our circle.
St Pancras Station, walking to, and you’re already late, or on the verge of being it. You approach the entrance, hurriedly, but in the corner of your eye you see a woman sprawled on the ground. The station beyond is at once glittery and austere; it pulls people in and churns people out – an endless flurry of bodies, giddy and frenetic, like molecules around … Continue reading Mandala
The sun had been exposed all day, uninterrupted by clouds, and now rested in the looming veil of evening like a lightbulb behind a curtain. The hall was the largest room in David and Lily’s house. It overlooked an abstract cauldron of water and mountain too vast to comprehend, and the guests nested by the huge windows, admiring this sight. Continue reading “The Party”
On Sundays, I am sad. My toaster breaks on Sundays and I must scrape the burn into the bin before I lather my toast in Lurpack’s best. Throughout the week, my floor-drobe grows into a mountain of spoiled evenings and rushed coffee breaks and by Sunday I must tackle the problem head on. Continue reading “On Sundays, I am Sad”
“R-r-r-r-ight,” the sweaty lady imitates a budget 80s quizmaster, deliberately or otherwise, “that’s time, on to your next table!” With a ring of her bell, an array of women rise and tiptoe around the circle. Continue reading “A Single woman, looking for”
We That Are Young is the debut novel from Warwick academic and human rights activist Preti Taneja. The novel is a modern reworking of Shakespeare’s King Lear, transplanting the tragedy from the castles of Medieval Britain into the meeting rooms of the hospitality industry in modern day India. It was awarded the Desmond Elliott Prize for new fiction in 2018. Continue reading “Preti Taneja’s We That Are Young”
Dale comes swinging in through the double doors in a cloud of smoke and I tell you, I’ve had long-burnt chips in the oven that’ve smelled better than that. So I ask him,
“Dale, how’d it go in there?” and he says,
“Oh dandy, Chris, just fine. Like a furnace in there as always, but just fine.”
I can see his goggles have gone and he’s covered in soot, but his hood’s still on and he’s all suited up, so it must have been an okay run. I stick the air conditioning on: high.
Ozymandias gets slung out of a nightclub. He’s in the gutter swilling teeth, jaw shattered against the kerb.
Babylon was his once; he was ‘the man’, the ‘king of kings’: money, Maserati and gold tooth gleaming.