Friends, we came together to tackle problem that simply needed solving. Something had to be done. And sometimes, as they say, desperate measures are required for desperate times. Out of all the solutions we came up with – Gary’s pulley method, John’s algorithm, Carol’s ambitious nanotechnology plan – electrifying Gerald seemed to be our best hope for a solution. Yet I can’t help but feel that it may have been a mistake. Continue reading
I know it’s late. Or at least it is for now; you’re probably reading this in the morning, wondering what was so important that I had to call you so many times tonight. Last night. This is confusing. It’d be a lot easier if you were online to chat to. Why aren’t you online? You’re always online!
I hate you being so far away.
He muted the volume and it stopped.
Tony always thought you could tell a lot about a girl from the way she sneezed. Samantha had the softest sneeze he’d ever heard – she expelled what must have been a tiny amount of air in an abrupt, barely audible, “hnn” followed by a faint, “choo.” She would actually say, “choo,” something which had baffled Tony ever since he’d met her on a summer’s evening, the twilight air hanging heavy with pollen which aggravated her hay fever. He couldn’t tell if it was a natural action or an affectation she’d picked up. If it was the latter then he couldn’t for the life of him work out why anyone would wish to sound so wilfully cartoonish. He brought this up a few times over the years and she insisted she had no idea what he was talking about. He suspected this to be a lie.
It goes like this:
You start the week relatively brightly. You feel quietly assured that this time things will be different. You make plans, write to do lists, make an attempt to be healthy and productive. Go for a jog on Monday, salad for dinner Tuesday. You put that copy of Anna Karenina in your bag to read at lunch. You’ll maintain this for two, sometimes even three days. But inevitably come Friday you’ll once again find yourself desperately scrabbling for the weekend, on hands and knees, like a man in a desert dying of thirst, withering under the noonday sun, clawing his way towards an oasis.
Ever since my first steps as a curious toddler I’ve been burdened with the nagging feeling that I’m doing something wrong. Wherever I am, whatever I’m doing, be the act illicit or virtuous, performed diligently or devil may care, I can’t seem to shake the sensation that I’m mistaken in some fundamental and irredeemable way. People tell me I can’t possibly remember learning to walk but I assure you, as real a memory as seeing me today would be for you tomorrow, I can still see and feel that moment vividly. As I toddled along experiencing life up on my feet for the first time the fear struck me. I worried that perhaps I wasn’t doing it right, that my legs were making all the wrong movements. I became so anxious that I panicked. With no parental guidance on the matter (where they were at the time I couldn’t tell you) I stumbled and careened head first into the nearby coffee table. That accident consolidated in me that nascent fear and ever since I’ve carried with me the unshakeable feeling that my fears had been proven entirely correct.
Cathy stirs her coffee and watches the trains come and go on the digital monoliths hanging from the ceiling. Edinburgh is next to leave. She’s never been there. She tries to picture herself stepping off the train at the station, ready to start anew. Only she doesn’t know anything of the city. She can see herself stood on the platform, suitcase in hand, smiling at possibilities. But from there she doesn’t know where she could go. The image fades, leaving only the lightly wrinkled hand circling the steaming foam cup.