Beneath Her Curvy Veneer

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Meeko tells me I’m a modern-day Peter Pan. I wish it were because I can fly, but it’s more to do with being a child in a man’s body. While those around me have grown up, I’ve held onto the same naïve dreams I’ve had since I was young. It’s the only thing that’s ever come naturally. Meeko’s the same. She may have womanly bits and a thirst for beer, but beneath her curvy veneer, she’s a kid the same as me. And not just a kid, but a lost kid. Those we hung out with back in our school days have all embraced adulthood. They’re now well-oiled cogs in the machine of life, but not us. No, we’ve spent our adult years skirting the edge of society on the brink of madness, all so that we wouldn’t turn into obedient little machines like the rest of them. It takes its toll, though. Resistance is a full-time job. To be free doesn’t cost money, but it does require every ounce of spirit you have locked away behind your ribcage. Not a day goes by when I don’t wish I could’ve been the same as everyone else. It would’ve been so much easier to disappear into the machine, and yet it seems such a thing was never meant to be.

Wiggling my fingers and toes, I breathe in. Holding my breath for several seconds, I clear my mind before breathing out and immediately think about death again. Last year, they found some woman who lived on the bottom floor. She’d been dead for over three weeks before anyone knew. She didn’t have any family or friends, or at least none that were local. One day, someone noticed a smell coming from her apartment, and after they knocked and got no response, they broke in and found her sitting in her chair by the window. Meeko discovered that the woman had become bloated. There there were flies everywhere, and some of her flesh had begun to dissolve. I don’t know how true that is. Meeko’s a good a liar. Probably better than I am. It’s scary, though. To think that you could die and no one would know. That perhaps no one would care. This woman might’ve lived the most amazing of lives, and yet all I know about her is that she used to listen to classical music on the radio long into the night. And that she died by her window. When I found out, it scared me shitless. I set about working on a novel right away, thinking her death was a warning somehow. That it was as if I was being told to get a move on and not waste any more time. I booked two weeks off work and spent every waking hour writing what I thought would be my breakout novel. When I finished, I excitedly showed it to Meeko, thinking I had at long last broken the ice. She read it and told me it was crap. I was heartbroken and convinced she was lying. When I read it myself, I knew she wasn’t, and plunged into a great depression of which I’m still trying to escape.

A Journal for Damned Lovers UK

A Journal for Damned Lovers US

Anthology UK / Anthology US

17 replies »

  1. Great piece, as always, Stephen. I’m instantly intrigued by stories of undiscovered death.

    “It’s scary, though. To think that you could die and no one would know. That perhaps no one would care. This woman might’ve lived the most amazing of lives, and yet all I know about her is that she used to listen to classical music on the radio long into the night. And that she died by her window.”

    • Thank you, Allane 🙂

      Did you ever see a documentary called ‘Dreams of a Life’? Amazing and incredibly sad story of an undiscovered death. It used to be on Netflix, which is how I discovered it x

      • I just searched for it on Netflix but of course it’s not on there just now. I’ll search again. Coincidentally, your post reminded me of a story I was told by an old workmate of mine who’d worked in the Sweeney in the 70’s. They were called to an address because of the awful odour. He said that they were expecting a corpse, and they did find that, but also her husband, who was alive and who had been sleeping next to her dead body for months. Poor old fella. I think this was one of the most heartbreaking things I had/have ever heard.

      • I know. I’m such a maudlin commenter. I started watching something else a customer suggested today, got fed up with that and have been faffing about on YouTube instead. Haha. Will try and find D.O.A.L. somewhere else.

      • I could get it on Amazon, but I’d have to rent/buy it. It sounds totally up my street, but I’m broke, so I’ll wait until it’s free to stream haha. Thanks for the tip though. x

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