She washes her mother with water and with love. Gently caressing the body that looks like someone she once knew, but her mother’s mind has already gone ahead and waits for the soul to return. She cleans away the saliva from the mouth that once used to chastise and kiss and smile.
He dreads the sun coming up as it means another day and another night of little sleep. Somewhere between being ten years of age and this morning it all got complicated. The knots are too tightly tied to try to undo them anymore. He can hear the car next door starting up – the sign that he has to do it all….all over again.
If it wasn’t for the kids she would have left months ago, may be years. They were happy once. They were in love back then but all she did was turn her head away, take her eye off from where she was going and they slipped away from each other.
Okay, so he’s not a kid anymore but he tells himself that the injections he puts in his leg every morning are increasing his super powers. Yesterday he told himself he could see through peoples’ clothing. It made him smile and it greased another sticky day.
She’s 17 and gravity hasn’t hit her yet. She doesn’t know what waits around the corner but she is happy with her family and her dog called, Bertie. Oh, and her boyfriend.
The old lady lives two doors up from no one. She’s been there since the war and the neighbours have come and gone and although she used to know everyone, she locks her door against the night. When she goes, she’ll go like Eleanor Rigby. Then she hums what she thinks is the tune.
It’s the end of another day and as the heads lie on the pillow, or the sofa or the street, everyone should be standing up there on the podium, arms aloft for a job well done.
To get through a day, any day, deserves a medal.
The Walking Wounded
Sally Anne leaves the house at number 17 with her heart almost bursting through her chest.
She’s pregnant, ‘with child’ as she read somewhere - just like the girl who was on the cover of that magazine – Sally’s really really happy, she’s already deciding how her new home will look. She only found out while her Mum was making the toast and tea and the little line turned blue.
At number 22, the curtains twitch as Sam Lot watches his little distraction, Sally, walking down the street - bless her. Tonight’s the night he’s going to have to tell her it’s over; his wife is beginning to suspect.
The Hammerston twins, Fred and Irene at number 31 leave together, saying ‘good morning’ together to everyone they meet. As they run up the street for the West Town bus, Irene wonders how she’s going to tell her brother about her job up north.
Next door in number 33, Geraldine paces the floor – ‘born worrying, die worrying’ her mother used to tell the neighbours. But the lump on her breast makes her pace faster.
‘Lucky’ Jim turns into the street after finishing another night shift at the old plastic Works. He knows it has its bonuses - Jim had no trouble finding stuff to wrap his wife up in. And every morning when he finishes work he buys a newspaper, ten menthol cigarettes from the corner shop and wonders if this will be the day they find her.
In the little shop on the corner, Andy, the milkman, delivers another crate of cream and then creeps out having failed to ask Matilda - who works there – if she’d like to go to the park on Sunday.
Matilda’s heart is almost bursting through her chest as she waits for Andy to ask.
And Hugh, big strong Hugh from number 36, can’t tell anyone (not even his best friend) that his black eyes - which he covers with his wife’s makeup - are not from playing sports. She’s warned him, if he acts like a child then he must be punished like one.
He’s hidden the packed bag in the shed for the day he leaves her.
At the white house on the corner, Alice takes in gentleman callers until her husband gets back from a far off land.
And in the bus shelter Eddie drinks a can, not to brighten the dull day but to tone down the colours.
And from every house on the street comes the screech of silent screaming.
bobby stevenson 2013