Weeds Can Block Drainage Ditches

 

‘Balls, balls – it’s all a load of balls!’

The thoughts had tumbled through my mind last night, tripping over themselves, but never stopping. It had felt like fever, but my toes, hanging from the bottom of the bed like so many chilled grapes, had told a different story.

The darkened room had hidden my face from the mirror, but I’d known that the beard was there, protecting the world from lies that always gathered behind my forehead like excrement in a collapsed drain.

Maybe that’s why I couldn’t write.

Maybe it was the beard.

Waking in the night, a bladder full of pee, and an erection pressed against the mattress always reminds me of her. She’d this way of knowing I was awake, no matter how quiet I was; how considerate I tried to be, and she would roll on top of me or pull me to her – ignoring my almost pained cries. But my bladder never had burst. No – not that.

She’d had this way of releasing me. Now that she was gone I was blocked up inside myself like a monkey in a darkened crate. Screeching. Crying. Gabbling like an idiot. No-one to hear. No-one to see me cry.

If only I …

I ripped the sheet of paper from the machine. Pristine but for a single, malformed sentence – as ugly as the one she had pronounced on me when she walked out on me seven years ago.

“You’ll never be able to write a thing without me, Matthew!”

My fingers ached, but I ignored the pain as I scrunched the paper into a missile, tighter and tighter, as if I were closing them around her throat. Picturing her face, smiling in that way she had. Gloating over my failure. Willing me to be finished so that she could resume her life of shopping and flying away from me on another jaunt across the world.

Oh, she’d invited me. Begged me even, but I was chained to my Great English Novel.

“You go. I’ll be alright.”

And so she went, and she went, and finally, one day, she never came back.

I hurled the tightly balled paper against the wall, willing it to go through. Willing it to find her and strike her down.

It thunked against the wall and fell to the floor to join its brothers. An army of paper – conspiring against me. Planning to fall on me. Plotting their revenge in tiny voices that I could almost hear if I stopped to listen.

I didn’t stop.

Inserting a new sheet of paper I began to type …

‘Balls, balls – it’s all a load of balls!’

 

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