I don’t know what to do next. Its getting colder here now. A beautiful day though.
He saw me up in town with Kate, I think we were holding hands. The only minute that we hold hands, and he sees us! I don’t know what he thinks now. I said I wasn’t there, that it must have been my sister, and he seemed to accept that, was a bit embarrassed to be a stalker, like, so just let it go at that.
That was a good day though. We were in the rose gardens earlier, by the lavender bushes, she was sprawled out on the grass, smiling and almost dancing with her hands flashing and feet tapping out an unheard jig. A bee droned by, off to the bushes, and she burst into the sky, the dance became a whirling jig as she batted invisible insects off her hair and body, the whirl of hands blurred as the bee watched on, baffled.
We want to form a band! I can sort of play the keyboard and she can sort of play the guitar, in a noisy way. All jagged edges and thrusting movement, fingers working and eyes squeezed, tongue in teeth. What shall we call ourselves? Here are some of my ideas:
Kate & Georgina
Which do you like the best? I hate them all now, having looked at them again. Except maybe the last one. Well, the first thing to do was to put together a photoshoot, so we left the rose gardens, looked at the menu of the little French Creperie, then went up to Woolworths. In there we bolted a few cola bottles out of the pic and mix and headed to the stationery, where we bought card and a craft knife.
On our way out we ate a few white chocolate jazzies, the guard looked over and I grabbed Kate’s hand and we ran low behind the racks of school skirts and out the doors, the heaviness of them hard to push from a crouching position! Running down the street towards the clock tower, I thought – I hope someone sees me now, with her, this day, dressed in my best outfit of custom T-shirt, sprayed with stencils and-
“In here!” Kate yanks my hand, the pain in the socket a joy, because she did it.
We barge into HMV and head past the racks of bad videos:
Peter Kay – Unleashed!
Bryan Adams – Unabashed!
Unconditionally Boz Scaggs
Time Enough for Jethro
Cilla Sings Gorrillaz
and to the tapes and CDs. Well, not really the tapes. OK Computer, on cassette, £14.49. Where do they get these prices from? Great album though. I love that one so much, listen to it every day. I pretend in my mind that I’m singing it, that Kate is playing guitar and I do the synth sometimes. I imagine we are playing the school hall, just so I can show everyone, and when I sing:
When I am king / You will be first against the wall
I imagine pointing at Harriet and her posh little gang. I was on the bus the other day and they were throwing things at my head, bits of paper and cartons. A bit of the orange juice out of one came down my top. I was shaking. Then Harriet came up to the front and showed me a tiny square of newspaper with orangey dots on it.
“That’s Andre’s chest – what do you think of that?” she seemed to ask the girls at the back row, but brandished it towards my face, so I presumed she meant me.
“Err… not much.”
“What are you gay?!”
“Well, does this turn you on?”
“Err… no.” I just thought – this is fucking ridiculous. Brake, driver, brake hard and send this cunt through the windscreen.
“Well you are fucking gay then!”
She seemed satisfied with this, and staggered back up the aisle. I aimed to look relaxed, so put my seat back. By slamming my back into it so hard it broke. The seat, that is. It was now reclining all the way. I lay back and watched the clouds drift by through the roof hatch. Every now and then a branch would pop its green hand through the top, feel about then quickly retract. That’s right, stay out there. Its better out there.
It was just getting brighter and brighter that day. You know, when you squint your eyes and see all that glow and flare, look up to the sun and allow a few of its fine fingers into your mind, only a little bit, mind, its stronger than you can take, (it’s like it will tell you so much you’ll go blind with the data influx) and just feel it heal you from inside out, see the blood vessels, the fields of cells nurtured, the whole of you growing in the light.
I opened my eyes. She was there, sudden golden hair like sparking wires flying about her, eyes black in the darkness, shadow flowing through the soft fuzz around her cheeks, glowing skin on her neck, a gentle slope outwards into her white T-shirt with a crackling TV on it “Normal Service To Be Resumed Shortly” written there. I only read it out of the corner of my eyes, didn’t want to look directly at it. Like viewing the sun.
I stood there looking at Kate in the light for a moment, then she turned and walked down the street. I could hardly see, lights flashed in my eyes but I followed her. She jumped up onto a little crumbly wall, arms waving up and down in their effort to keep balance. I jumped up behind her, and she made a little leap off the wall into the wasteland behind, looked back at me for a moment, smiled, then ducked into the bushes, the tall purple flowers crowding into place behind her, dancing.
In the wasteland we found some objects:
Roll of carpet
Out of this we made our little home, the sofa facing the TV, a carpet at our feet, a few walls of pallets and a wheelbarrow upended to make an armchair. We then found a shopping basket to use as a little pouffe. I sat in the armchair, feet up, Kate on the sofa, her Converse shoes, feet in little patterned green socks, touched mine on the shopping basket. The electrical current flowing jumped them apart. I stood up and switched on the TV, banged its side, adjusted the tuning. Normal service will never return.
I have a boyfriend, he lives on the estate on the edge of town, down a long hill, after climbing a long, long hill. It’s hard to go and see him and hard to get away. I took his virginity the night we walked along the abandoned railway line all night. Well, it’s not abandoned, it just doesn’t run at night. We took a pill each and pretended we were trains, running, chuffing, whistling, then slowly pulling into each station, then slowly kissing in the pale moonlight.
When we got to my house, I brought blankets downstairs and we sat watching a video of Twin Town. Not the best film, and I couldn’t really follow it. Sparks were being kindled by my knee, my inside leg, it sounded like a distant train in my head. Each breath was getting hotter and I thought he could hear my nose puffing away, faster. His skin against mine was like a rain of light in my mind.
Finally the film ended, and we turned to each other and immediately kissed, in clear synchronisation, my tongue going deep into his mouth, our teeth clashed and made me feel funny. He grabbed my hand and squeezed. I threw my left leg over his body and fiddled with his belt. He helped. I got him inside me and ground downwards in a spiral. I could hear the guitar licks from “Lucky” off OK Computer. I saw his eyes flicker and roll as he bit his bottom lip, then he began to thrust as his head arched back into the sofa behind us. I let it happen because he was already there.
We stayed up that night until it was time for me to go to work. He walked me down to the Trading Estate and we said goodbye at the doors of Mothercare. He stayed outside for a while – I looked out after about 5 minutes of setting up the till and saw him balancing on the lines in the pavement, arms aside, boots in line.
He bought me an Indian dress. He bought me flowers and wine. He bought me a CD from that club night we went to. He bought a Network Railcard so that we can both travel together, cheaper. He bought himself some wine too. I don’t think he really likes me enough. He is happy to be somewhere we are not known, a day in Brighton, like, or he is happy in the back of a pub where we wrench out dark secrets until we are almost sick. I told him about when I was forced, when I was used by the person before. He looked like he understood. Just looked like it. He didn’t understand. He tilted his head and went to the bar.
I haven’t told Kate. She knows about him, I mean, she doesn’t know about before.
Back at the wastelands, we start our graffiti mission:
“What will your graffiti tag be?” Kate asked me, holding the craft knife up to her cheek, grinning.
“I’m going to be RIIIIIIIIIIIP!”
“It’s like RIP on a gravestone, but also like a comic book sound, we can have it on our clothes, like these jeans,” I touched her knee then “or where that little wall has fallen down or where there are cracks opening up in the pavement!”
“Sounds good! I’m going to be KAT-JA! written like a communist poster or some sort of corporate logo!”
“I like it! You do look a bit Russian, like, minimal and…”
So we took the Woolies craft knife and cut our stencils on top of the wooden pallet in our little house. The sound of a paint can ball shaking – I love it! And the little tish-tish sound of its spray. The smell too – delicious. I can taste it.
We headed out of our wasteland and onto the streets. The garages. We have lunch there sometimes, Tesco Value lunches – they’re great! Here’s what we have:
Tesco Value Quiche
Tesco Value Sausage Rolls
Tesco Value Jam Tarts
Tesco Value Swiss Roll
Tesco Value Cornish Pasty
all washed down with two fine, fine litres of:
Tesco Value Cider.
It’s the only way to eat – in the shady dark of a garage, backs up against the spidery wall, bags as plates and Kate by my side, her cutting the quiche with her finger as a knife, me glugging the cider, people passing by and either avoiding looking as they hear our echoing laughs, or glancing then looking away quickly. And all for less than £5!
I placed my stencil on our garage door, and Kate did the same. We sprayed. I got my hand, made it purple, but got most of the pain on the wall. I meant paint, but it came out that way so I’ll leave it as that. I think sometimes you hear voices or see things or know what is right, and you should listen to them. I so wanted to grab Kate’s hand then, I looked to her gently easing the atoms of spray, orange, onto the stencil and door. I wanted to push her inside, her mouth opening as she backed into the mouth of the garage. And for us to fall and kiss, amongst the plastic wrappers and bottles, all white with blue stripes.
My hand by now was white with purple stripes, trembling a little.
“Let’s do the photoshoot!” I almost shouted, eager to get away from that image.
“Good idea! Let’s do it in the garage!”
She put her arm around me and leant backwards against the wall, a bit of plaster or something fell on her shoulder, and I brushed it off.
“Leave it! It will look good! Like we are zombies or something!”
She held the camera out and pointed it back at us. I could see its eye adjusting to the dim conditions. I’m the dim locator, the dim locator, we’re going over, going over wah wah wah! A flash.
I can’t keep my lungs still, they are making my shirt rustle.
My hand is soaking sweat. She’ll feel it soon through the T-shirt.
Her hand has tightened on my back.
It’s sliding lower on me, and I can’t avoid the feeling, I’m buzzing, glowing, soaking, about to white out and have a fucking heart attack!
She is standing in front of me, crouched down, taking another photo of me. I cover my face, rabbit-like.
The door is flung up and overhead, and I follow her out into the baking heat.
I want her I love her I want her now she is fantastic I love her. I grab the camera and look through the lens. She jumps into focus and I fill the frame with her face. She looks doe-like, tilts her face forward and a tiny smile spreads across her face, her eyes large and wide and looking into me. Her pale little hand comes up to her face, almost strokes it as she moves aside a few strands of shimmering gold that dance for her. I press the button and that image is burned into permanence, exposed in the darkroom of my mind. Left to dry and kept safe.
HI! WAT RU UP 2? DNB NITE AT DANS – U UP 4 IT?!?! LUV D XXX
I put the phone back in my pocket. Then get it out again, hold my finger on the button and switch it off.
“Kate, when shall we record some music for our band?”
“Err… I guess we could do it in that studio we saw in London the other day?”
“Yeah, but when? Is good for you?”
Go on, go on, go on, please please say it, start doing it and then it will be alright! Are these the voices that say the truth? Or the wrong ones? Or is that just me? Go on! No, I… I’ll just regret it if I don’t! But what about our friendship? If she doesn’t feel the same, that’s ruined, and Harriett and all… But if she does? Jesus Lord, Lord Lord! Please do it! Sometimes you need to give up all that you are for all that you could be. Fuck me, how long has this been? And she’s just photographing a flower and some dogshit! While I… I feel like the shit in that photo, I couldn’t possibly stand next to her, the flower…
“Kate, Kate, look at me a sec.”
“What’s up?” She looks worried. Does she know?
“I really know I can say anything to you, can’t I?”
“Of course! Anything! You know I love you!”
“Well, for a while I’ve… I’ve not been myself. It’s because I… Well, you know that night we were out at that house party in Bedford?”
“Yeah? What is it? Do you have a tissue?”
What? My eyes! Oh fuck, this is going wrong.
“I don’t need one. What it is, was, is that this guy… I don’t even know his name, he was up in the bedroom with me, I’d gone up there after I downed the end of that absinthe bottle…”
“Oh, yeah, I remember that.”
“And I met him on the stairs, clambered over him, and he followed me upstairs. I felt so sick and fucked, and he led me to sit down on the bed. He stroked my hair, touched my leg, and I felt nothing. The next thing I knew I saw hands pressing up against his face and pushing him up to the ceiling. It took me a minute to work out those were my hands, and I was here, it was happening to me.”
“Oh, Georgina, I never knew!”
“I couldn’t feel anything, I could just see. I saw my hands stop fighting, and just was absorbed by the artex patterns on the ceiling. They were like rainbows, all squiggly and rising, again and again, until the edges, where they disappeared from view, and straight lines took over, wiped them out.”
“What! Who was it! What the fuck! I will kill him!”
“I can’t remember.”
She enfolds me and holds me. I smell her scent, the warmth, the sweat and the summer air. Tarmac melting.
“I won’t let it happen to you.” Birds singing. A car horn sounds.
“I don’t know if this is why I…”
“Does Doug know?”
“No, he, wouldn’t… I don’t even know if I want him to know, I don’t think he likes me…”
“What! Of course he does! Crazy about you! And who wouldn’t be – you’re beautiful. You…”
I certainly hadn’t drunk any absinthe, but I can’t quite remember what was said after that. I just watched her talk through blurry eyes. Sometimes I don’t know if I’m sad or its hayfever. I feel the tears in my eyes and sort of check myself – am I down? What was I just thinking of? Anything sad? No? Sure? OK, probably hayfever. And that cheers me up. Seeing her talk cheered me up, seeing her do anything cheers me up. She stayed round my house once, and she curled up to sleep on the sofa. She took up only one cushion of space. One cushion! Out of three. I sat down beside her and watched her sleep and dream. Tucked a woolly blanket under her chin and watched it rise and fall. I saw her when she got straight As for GCSE. I saw her when Matt dumped her. I had got them together: I said “She really likes you” and pointed out Kate. She looked over, at me.
I sort of woke out of this state when she waved goodbye, looking back up the street at me, waving and walking backwards. Doug stood beside me, in front of the Furniture Outlet Centre. A pine table, £599 down to £299. Then down to £170. Is that good?
“Saw you two ‘oldin ‘ands in town earlier.”
“Yeah, up by the clock tower. Wass that all abou then?
“What? Err… that, we weren’t there. Maybe it was my sister?”
What had happened?
“Wha! She looks nuffing like ya.”
“Why didn’t you come over?”
“Ah was drivin.”
“Ah, see, could have been anyone. Anyway, what are… what shall we do tonight?”
“Can’t do nuffing. Out wiv the boys! Ah’ll see ya. Drum n bass!”
Thank fuck for that.
“Love you! Bye!”
I call this over my shoulder as I speed up down the hill. Kate must be along here still. The golden orange light from the sky starts to mingle with the sodium lights popping on in line. I see the bushes give a seductive little wiggle and a flash of calf, black shoe, disappear in. I follow. She turns and says:
“Can we not be friends?”
Oh God what!?
“For tonight, I mean. Can we just forget that for now, for…”
Kate takes my hand and draws me onto the sofa. Her eyes tremble in fear and I think she is going to talk about what I said earlier, but she moves nearer, the springs twang and pluck and I feel the damp of the cushion soak into me. Her lips are on mine, and mine on hers, her lips seem firm and strong, they pout into my mouth before melting as my head tilts one way, hers the other, our bodies burning and liquid, the sofa descending and the maelstrom around growing, the buildings that were here decimated, razed, and nothing left, so the flowers took over, they forced the concrete apart and reclaimed it.
I don’t know what to do next. Its getting colder here now. A beautiful day though.