Tuesday, 22 January 2013
Term of Tuesdays
On reflection that term of Tuesdays was the best of it all. My train could go no further than Southend Victoria. This was when the rape carriage was a thrilling way to travel between Southend and London; and before the Black Alchemist had done some gale force damage to the engineering college where Kev lasted a week, wry grin reason – no women.
Then I was on the winkle picker scoot down Hamlet Court Road, often feeling as if someone had put the roof on Westcliff. Misty veils drawn over the sea. Past dark framed boutiques adorned years before with the nearly threadbares that retired to York Road, and I wore. Out of familiar days for me, the invented death waif, to the rooms of fancy dress house.
As clear as before the fog lifted was what anyone done there. All real life character actresses, cameos occupied with costumes for playing a part on stage or for a party. She put on gloves and a face to sort through the wash, 'don't touch those.'
'Why what are they?'
'Principal boy pants – unclean.'
Snug as the marzipan layer, all girls together. I repaired button holes. That's what I'll say I done there, but I don't remember being much more than a work of art in what I stood up in. On a mission to find a Graffiti t-shirt hanger screech on the rail, ex-orchestra waistcoat violin soiling, glitter frost on my astrakhan coat.
My chair was beside Ivy, who would have known that astrakhan in its youth. I fell into the hum. That was until David came in confusing and he said hello, his volume and tone control out of control.
'David,' Ivy confided, tap temple, held my elbow, 'he's not all there,' raise painted eyebrow, nod slow, gave back my elbow. The whisper over her jewelly snakings made of some kind of old yellow metal, 'Mr Marks gives him bits to do, friend of his Dad's you see.'
At once I was fascinated by David, far more than by powdered and mascara'd boys posing only out for the camera.
I kept finding reasons to go upstairs to the sailor suit bedroom or serving wench chamber, rails and rails of the same character, with a tucked away hope that David would follow me. He had a smell, everything there had a smell, I must have smelt, what patchouli doesn't disguise it fertilises. And David in his inch too small dark suit, cheek bones and nine year old boy's eyes behind N.H.S. specs; his hair growing in directions spikey as the way he moved. I couldn't have fancied him more if he'd played the guitar. I just wished his brain hadn't got stuck as a child.
The line we drew could smudge, what's the harm, what's forever. A moon stone moth flying for the web, skinny black legs you haven't got me yet. An egg shell, I would have to take care, whiter than my own phobia of sun tan.
And I would wait deep breathing the fust from empty sailor suits; my back to the door ajar invitation. Photo staring the Queens Hotel through the window, now a dead silent shell but something so loud I hurt to look but hurt more to look away.