After a Hiatus

After a hiatus I went to the late-night library where I learnt from the publisher she’d been dropped by the layout designer who couldn’t be doing with vertical columns that didn’t move with the text and precluded Kindle. ‘What!’ was my comment. I had to send copy of CORRESPONDENCE predesign to another designer which would have to wait till next day.

I was surprised to see John in the library that late and well-dressed, for him. He wouldn’t tell me until over a glass of wine, in order to be securely inside – which is an ironical expression of conjectured motive, come to think of it – in case I refused him entry. I suspected what the explanation could be. It was that he hadn’t returned to prison after his day’s work in a shop where he’d omitted to ask a secret shopper was she gift-aid and so was forbidden future work at the till. That was the last straw. The preceding bale – again an oddly ironic homonym – having been bullying in the prison he’d reported but nothing was done about it, the first I’d heard of that. I was annoyed. That evaporated but I didn’t feel like sex, uninduced to change my stated mind by the show of viagra on his extended tongue. I was much more concerned whether I could sleep with somebody in my bed.

I could but it took two nights’ proving and as he said I couldn’t’ve been more horrible. I could, I assured him. It was a lot to dump on me in one go. He called me cold and selfish. It was all “you, you, you” with me. Probably, I agreed, but to me it looked like all him, him, him who’d only a month or so to go and would’ve been socially housed, giving us a better transition than waiting on his solicitor’s contacting the Ministry of Justice for better conditions of handing himself in. Meanwhile he’s developed a heroin habit, gone back to wholesale shop-lifting to feed it and right back to alcoholism, as I predicted, without the restraints of prison.

“What are you doing?” He was going to pack to leave. Perhaps a gesture but I couldn’t allow it, so mollified him – not as far as sex again though; that I didn’t feel like – and we talked ourselves into quietude enough to sleep at twenty nine minutes to or after three.

Two anecdotes from yesterday. I chased the dragon and understood why it’s called that: you chase a little pool of slithering smoking brown down the foil to take in the smoke with a tube, or nostril, if you dare near the heat from the flame beneath the dragon’s feet. The other is of John’s telling: he asked himself what I would do. I’d buy the paper and the travel card I’d given him just enough money to do, so he was holding out the money in his hand for the assistant to take when the toffee-nosed woman in front hit his arm, scattering the change which everybody except her helped recollect. She gave him a 50p that’d cascaded into her bag but not the £ he was then short of. He couldn’t buy the paper but stole one. What else John would’ve done had he been me is not let a woman get away with anything. Of course I wouldn’t be on the run and have to avoid attention. All I’m guilty of is harbouring a fugitive but it’s all self, self, self with me.


About johnbrucecairns

I'm a retired history teacher who's written for most of his life with a book readied for publication.
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