Surrogate Womb

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She wishes to shower, but decides it’s too cold to get undressed, so instead sticks her head under the tap in the bathroom sink. It’s not very ladylike. After several seconds, she resembles a drowned cat, and when she applies too much shampoo to her hair, it foams out of control and gets in her eyes. Yanking her head back, she cracks her skull on the tap. The pain is hot and piercing—like someone has poked her with a branding iron. Biting her teeth, she snatches at handfuls of air as if somehow it will take away her pain. When she collects herself, she washes the soap away by using water poured from a cracked glass housing a toothbrush belonging to someone other than her. The glass is adorned with a feel-good quote written in pink italics. It’s nauseating. If she remembers, she’ll pop it in the bin where it belongs when she leaves for uni. Towelling herself dry, she grabs a breakfast bar from the kitchen. Like the toothbrush, this doesn’t belong to her either. Gretchen’s theft of food is commonplace. Makes it taste better, is her belief. The mist from outside is seeping through the cracks in the walls. It follows her up the stairs and along the landing before joining her in bed. It doesn’t take long for her to fall asleep again. When she does, the mist wraps around her toes and interlaces with the curls of her hair. She resembles a hamster in a cage of cotton wool, and as she buries herself in her duvet, so the room once more becomes a surrogote womb.

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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