Rosemary and Fred


I read the script and didn’t like it. Too wordy. Too grey. Her feet were dirty but biblical, so for a while at least, it was okay. She ate fruit from the holy tree and worshipped Roy Rodgers—read the comics and everything. Reading them beneath the sheets gave her papercuts, but she had a thing for blood, and so she sought the tiny lacerations out with the morbid keenness of someone in love with death while being too afraid to die. On her pillow in secret, she cried the night away out of shame, and such shame made her more of a victim whether she liked it or not. Like Van Gogh, I stumble around courtyards counting the hours until daylight. It’s cold, and I have no shoes. No socks either. There are no lullabies and no birds, only the stink of absence that comes from not having what you really want, and how what you really want is what you had when you didn’t even know it. Gas station. Lewisham. Norfolk en route to Uxbridge. Cats in bushes but not in hats—I’m just not a fan of that. Cribs and snooker balls in socks that droop low like testicles that have been firing blanks for the best part of two decades. Upon the patio, is a radio, and long into the afternoon, it plays songs that drown out the sound of the horrors going on beneath.

Turn of the Screw. The screws in the boards of wood that conceal hidden rooms adorned with wallpaper containing the moons of Jupiter hanging outside my nan’s house when I studied in a school that isn’t a school anymore. The bricks and mortar still exist, but the kids within are as long gone as my umbilical cord. Where is it now? Not with me, that’s for sure. Who found it? What do they seek with the wonders it allows them to see? Deckchairs on the Titanic. I catch sight of them as clearly as I do the dusky evenings that swallow the long summer days belonging to a version of myself bottled up like sand from a windswept beach on the south coast. In an abandoned vehicle by the entrance to a parking lot near the rotting pier on the aforementioned beach, there are cushions belonging to Rosemary and Fred lifted from a market stall on old Woolworth Road. They were a Christmas present. The glittery gift tags have fallen off, though. They’re at the bottom of the bag along with loose strands of hair belonging to a girl no longer around. Permed and curly. An ’80s thing. That market stall; they sell rope there and despair. In the small, cracked mirrors plastered with faded stickers detailing the prices, you can observe the ligature marks on her neck. I, however, do not. I’m just a bystander. Just a guy sifting through the wreckage of his life without a clue as to what I’m looking for.

X and I: A Novel and A Journal for Damned Lovers on Amazon UK

X and I: A Novel and A Journal for Damned Lovers on Amazon US

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