Martha-The Rewrite Chapter Sixty Three
I don’t like Monster Munch, why is there Monster Munch? I can smell it, pickled onion flavour, it’s horrible, is it on my breath? It’s so dark, like I am under the sea, I’m waiting for a giant fluorescent octopus to appear and scare the fuck out of me. This day feels so long. Which day is it anyway? I’m rocking, I can feel my shoulders but not anything else. I can smell him now, through the pickled onions, there he is, that Jimmyness, mmmm, it’s ok now. And gin, there is gin too and laughing, a laugh I know I think. It’s all so familiar and it’s all so strange. The rocking has stopped. Oh no, there it is again. Oh I am tired and it’s so comfy here, I could sleep for all the time left in the world. I might wake up in another place altogether, a dimension beyond sleep. But first can I dance? I could dance myself to sleep. Oh ok body you don’t want to play, let’s see if I can dance in my mind. Yes, yes I can. It’s playing Katrina and the Waves and my shoulders have woken up a bit, they are shimmying in the blackness. Lord, I am so tired, it’s so special here, I should sleep until I can walk. Maybe I don’t need to walk here, I think I’m moving but I’m not walking, what is carrying me? The questions are funny. Let’s make this last forever.
“Marth...Marth...we’re here.” I can see again. I am holding onto Jimmy’s arm and we are walking along a train platform. Even though I am walking, I have my head resting against his chest. My eyes are opening and closing. I turn my head the other way and there is Gemma smiling back at me. I don’t know where I am and I don’t care in this moment. I know that I am safe. We walk some more, at least I think we do. My belly feels hard and bloated, my head barely exists.
“Jimmy, where are we? Is this somewhere else?”
“It’s Chingford Marth.” Fucking Chingford. This is turning out to be a shit dream.
“Can we sit down soon please?” I sound whiny, like Sash when she’s tired. The three of us sit down on a bench next to a green area. I can see shops and people. I'm still holding onto Jimmy like he’s the last raft in the whole wide ocean. Gemma is drinking a ready mix gin and tonic and Jimmy is smoking a roll up. I look at him and he hands me the cigarette. I take a lug.
“Jimmy…” The question is in his name.
“You texted me at 4am, I came round. I was awake anyway. You were having one of your things but like, different again. You were quiet and you sat on me and cried for a bit.”
“I’m sorry Jimmy.”
“Nah, it’s fine, it wasn’t for long, about 45 minutes.”
“Yeah, so I got Sash sorted out for school and you slept a bit.”
“Oh god, poor Sash.” I’ve abandoned her.
“It’s fine Marth, she’s cool, her dad is getting her from school later. So, I knew about the Chingford thing, I texted Gems and we thought we’d all go together and like, hope you were ok when we got here. Yeah, that’s about it.” Gemma puts her arm around me.
“Yeah, thought we’d make a day of it. Are you ok now babes? I’ve never seen you when you are properly out of it, you’re kinda cute’.” I laugh, kinda cute when I am out of it. Well, that’s something.
“I feel a bit blurry.” I want to cry, I hold it in.
“Thank you both for this, it’s so fucking silly.”
“No babes, no, it’s fine. we’re your mates innit?” I can feel Jimmy nod heavily. I smoke some more and smell his arm.
“They are getting better though Marth.” “We are walking slowly down a side road. All the houses are the same and all the front gardens have the same shrubs in them.
“How do you mean Jimmy boy?” He does a thinking face for a moment.
“Like I said, you’re lighter when you go but it’s not just that.” Thinking face again.
“It’s like now, you know that you are somewhere else, like when you are in a dream and you know it’s just a dream, cos like before, you were somewhere else altogether, you know?” Well, no not really but also I do know what he means of course. Gemma joins in.
“You are so different Marth, it’s like you are all new and sparkling, like when you go nuts on your kitchen floor with the Flash.” I hold her hand and let myself cry a little tear, it was starting to hurt all bunged up in my head.
“Are we there yet?” I say exactly as a kid would say it. Jimmy looks at his phone.
“Yeah, it’s just down this next road.”
“What about mum?”
“She’s meeting us there Marth, don’t worry, it’s all cool.”
So often I have despaired of my existence, reduced myself to a pile of miseries that steam like manure on a winter’s day. I don’t know what is happening to me now. Something is moving within me and it is at once beautiful and fully terrifying. I can feel something below my thick skin emerging. I don’t want to chase it though, in case it runs away. Desire is dangerous at the best of times but when you desire something that you don’t understand then you are definitely asking for grief. Anyway, even if it comes to fuck all, I can at least say that I have the most amazing friends ever.