What’s going on here then?
Good question… I’m afraid I’ve never been altogether sure! Broadly speaking, I’m not one for standing still and change isn’t something that particularly bothers me – consequently I feel that my blog should reflect that and be capable of accommodating a degree of diversity and change.
This page is an attempt to capture that feeling. It’s very much experimental and isn’t terribly structured or formulaic I’m afraid – think of it as a sort of scrapbook. You will find it a little grubby and unwashed behind the ears at times.
What goes here? – Stuff that doesn’t fit so easily within the main bloggage… writing that’s unrelated to sl or, for that matter, rl – perhaps a touch of rampant fiction. Short stories, maybe even just random notes intended to provoke the imagination – often a little more edgy or darker than what you might be used to from the everyday sweet and innocent me.
The truth is, this is an unstructured and evolving space that will change on a whim, and if you like it, hate it or want to add your own critique, thoughts or observations, please feel free.
Only the most recent addition will feature on this page. To see previous works, please visit the Alt. life: Archive page.
It had been a pretty rotten few weeks. She’d been dumped – at least that’s what she’d assumed – he hadn’t actually told her in as many words, or any words at all, if you wanted to be pedantic about it.
The correct term, apparently, according to the Internet, was ‘ghosted’; but let’s not split hairs here, she’d been dumped, and in the most cowardly, underhand way too.
Their relationship hadn’t been particularly conventional from the start – so you might say that message ‘dumped’ wasn’t quite the right terminology anyway, but as far as she was concerned, it was an accurate assessment of the situation, and it was quite definitely the way she felt. You can make your own mind up. I suppose the most accurate term you could employ – in polite company anyway – would be ‘friends with benefits’, although you could definitely say that in addition to being best friends, the benefits were always on the cards whenever they met up, rather than a pleasant occasional add-on. If anything, she would have liked those meetings to happen a lot more frequently than they did – but work patterns and distance were against them in that regard – so it was a case of grabbing the chance when they could, which usually amounted to a Friday night every other week – although it could be a long, painful month before they might get the opportunity if things were against them. Never a happy time.
It had all started with a dry period – work had interfered, as usual and they’d not been able to get together for a fortnight; then, the next weekend was a night out with the boys – she certainly didn’t begrudge him that, and it wasn’t as if it was something that happened at all often, but all the same, it was three long weeks without an evening together over pizza and pink wine, enjoying the companionship, and – of course – those special benefits to top things off. She was looking forward to seeing him at last.
She’d waited until the Sunday after his night out to text and ask if he’d had a good time – she wasn’t the possessive, overbearing sort, and she’d suffered enough hangovers in her time to know that he’d appreciate her patience.
He’d had a great time! Even danced with a colleague. She was a bit put out at that: It was the one thing she’d always wanted to do with him, but somehow, at the parties they’d been to, they’d never ended up on the dance floor together – it wasn’t really his thing. Still, pointless getting wound up about it. On the Monday, she sent him another text: It just so happened they’d be working in the same area for a couple of days… “How about lunch”, she asked, something they’d always enjoyed when they could manage it.
No answer. Odd, but he was pretty rubbish at responding to texts. Even so, he’d normally have leapt at the chance. Maybe tomorrow then?
Tomorrow came, and passed, along with any chance of lunch. Still no contact Thursday, and most concerning of all, his usual early morning “It’s Friiiiiidddaaaaayyyyy, yaaaayy!!!” text was conspicuously absent, for the first time that she could ever recall. By lunchtime, she caved in – “You OK?” she queried, but again, no reply.
That Friday was the worst. The pizza stayed in the freezer and she had the pink wine all to herself. No text, no call, and no benefits. Of course, she could have called him, but she had a feeling he wouldn’t have answered and why should she anyway?
The whole of the next week was hell. She was determined not to give in and call him – it wasn’t something they’d ever really done anyway. They had a standing joke that the only time they ever spoke on the phone was when they needed something doing… ‘Can you pick me up from the airport? ‘, ‘Are you any good at putting together furniture?’, ‘Can I borrow your carpet cleaner?’ – I suppose you could argue this was as good a time as any to break the habit, but it was his call, not hers to make.
The silence was deafening. So, this is what it meant to be ghosted? Ignored, invisible and unimportant, and all for no apparent reason. Often she found herself reflecting on that moment things had started to feel wrong – that dance… But no, even now she didn’t think anything had happened. Unless, he’d simply realised he was missing his freedom, maybe that’s all it was? Well, she hoped it was worth it!
The days dragged into weeks, then months, but still she missed him, and still she spent long, lonely nights weeping quietly; still the pizza sat unopened in the freezer. She lost an alarming amount of weight, but it wasn’t a diet she’d recommend to her worst enemy… Actually, coming to think of it, in her mind, he was rapidly becoming her worst enemy! She knew she had to move on, but she’d lost any will to get her life back on track and she had no idea how she was going to fix things.
Still, Christmas was coming, and she was determined to make something of it, even on her own.
Of course, one of the first things she came across was his Christmas present: the bottle of very expensive aftershave she’d bought him earlier in the year and put aside in advance. There was a severely weepy moment over that, followed by a fierce anger of what he’d put her through. She was at the point of pouring the lot down the toilet, but then thought better of it: This gave her the chance for a degree of closure… Why not let him have it, a final peace offering, then walk away for good? At least then it would be on her terms, rather than his. She’d even write him a card – a cheap and nasty one from the corner shop, something he’d be embarrassed to put on display, even if he wanted to. For the first time in weeks she felt empowered and in control. She could do this.
So this is where we find her, a week before Christmas, walking down the road towards his flat, looking nervously over her shoulder, fearful that she might run into him, and wishing now that she’d never embarked on this stupid venture. Too late now: There wouldn’t be a bus back home for another hour, and his place was just around the corner… And there it was. Breathing an audible sigh of relief, she relaxed at the site of the empty parking space outside, with no sign of his stupid blue Micra. She could do this.
She recited the mantra to herself, over and over again, with each step of the two flights of stairs to his front door. Then she was stood in front of it, number 16, with the ridiculous Dalek silhouette stuck to the glass panel. She was trembling now; the last time she’d stood here it had been very different, with her bottle of pink wine in one hand and overnight bag in the other. She crouched down and leaned the jiffy bag against the door, containing the neatly gift-wrapped aftershave and flimsy, crappy card containing her terse message – ‘You should have this, I bought it for you and it’s no good to me. At least you’ll stink of something better than arsehole, for Christmas!’ She’d signed it with a single initial, and no smiley faces or kisses.
The bathroom window was ajar – he always left it that way because the bathroom always steamed up. It was one of the things she’d used to take him to task over, anyone could get in, she’d argue, but he just laughed it off. Then she had the crazy idea. Now a slim size 12, she reckoned she could get through it with no problem. She was just curious – wondering whether the place would hold any clues as to what had gone wrong. Besides, as far as he was concerned, she was a ghost… Feeling the weight of the gift in her hand, she smirked – yes, that was her, the ghost of Christmas present, and what could freak him out any more than finding a present from the very person he’d ghosted, lying on his pillow.
Mind now made up, she quickly eased herself up onto the sill and wriggled through the half-open window – it was a tight fit, but she’d been absolutely right, it wouldn’t have stopped anyone really determined from getting in.
The bathroom looked no different to how she remembered it. With a slight shock, she recognised her own spare toothbrush that he’d insisted she left there still in the beaker next to his. The rest of the flat was much the same, with little to suggest that anything had changed at all: Her picture was still on the mantlepiece above the fire, the place was still a mess, with dust bunnies in the corners of the rooms, and the bedroom was exactly as it always had been. There was simply nothing at all anywhere to suggest that any change had occurred in his life – most notably, the not insignificant change that her being shut out of it should have made. It was, frankly, weird.
Feeling a little freaked out, she decided it was time to leave. Gently, she placed the jiffy bag on the pillow – right hand side, where he preferred to sleep, except when she’d stayed, when she insisted on having that side to herself. She stepped back, “Goodbye, shithead” she whispered.
Then she heard the key in the lock. He was back!
Panic-stricken, she bolted for the spare room – he rarely went in there, and there was loads of junk she could duck down behind if he looked in. She barely made it.
From her hiding place behind the weight bench, she heard him clattering around in the kitchen, then the sound of his heavy leather coat being hung in the highway. ‘Please leave the key in the door’, she prayed. Then, clearly from the bedroom, “What the hell is this?”
It was now or never. She exploded out of the spare room and sprinted for the door. Alerted by the sound, he was stood in the bedroom doorway, aftershave in one hand, the card in the other, and a dumbfounded look on his face. With horror, she stared at the door – the keys missing, then turned to face him. The complex emotions that played across his face were to be expected – shock, surprise, confusion, anger – and when he advanced towards her, she had no way of knowing his intentions. It was then that instinct took over: Fumbling behind her, she felt her hands clutching the brick he’d always used to prop the door open. Barely conscious of her actions, she swung it as hard as she could.
The world turned hazy; time slowed to a crawl, and when she came to her senses it was to find him lying at her feet, unmoving. She dropped to her knees, and it was then she realised he wasn’t breathing. Yes, she knew a bit of first aid, and yes, she knew she should do something about it, but the last time her lips had touched his was before all of this craziness had started, and something inside her was repulsed at the thought. Besides, he deserved it. Quietly, she waited and watched. It was only when her legs became numb that she moved, standing in a haze of tangled thoughts which only slowly resolved into a single coherent one: ‘He’s dead. You killed him. You have to do something with his body, they can’t find it here like this’.
She needed time. Time, and tea.
Absent-mindedly, she stepped over his prone body into the kitchen, automatically reaching for the mug, milk and sugar, as she’d done so many times before. Then she sat in her accustomed place on the sofa and sipped on her tea as darkness fell outside. She knew what she had to do.
It was far harder than she’d have ever imagined, dragging his body out from the flat and heaving it over the railing, to land, 2-flights below on the concrete floor. She’d take the brick with her and drop it in the skip she’d passed on the way here. The front door keys were in the kitchen, next to the bag of groceries he’d come home with.
Pausing only to retrieve the aftershave and card from where he’d dropped them, she headed silently off into the night.
Like a ghost.
At the corner of his street, she stopped and looked back towards where his body lay. No – not a ghost, let’s say it like it is: He’d dumped her, and now she’d dumped him… Or, more accurately, she’d dumped his body.
Perhaps now, she could get on with her life?